Facebook May Let Employees Sell $1 Billion In Shares

Facebook is reportedly considering whether to accept up to $1 billion from institutional investors seeking to purchase shares from employees of the social network, which would value the company at $60 billion.

Facebook is reportedly considering whether to accept up to $1 billion from institutional investors seeking to purchase shares from employees of the social network.

The possible tender offer would value the social network at $60 billion, according to All Things Digital, which cited unnamed sources close to the situation.

If you’re confused about the valuation of the company, or at least feel a little dizzy from apparent turbulence in the value, join the club. Recent transactions on private marketplaces have put the value of Facebook at $70 billion, and possibly as high as $82.9 billion. Of course, stock prices fluctuate, but movements of this size from one auction to another give a whole new meaning to volatility.

Then again, the Goldman Sachs-led investment in Facebook valued the company at $50 billion a couple of weeks after an auction on SecondMarket put the value of the social network at $59.4 billion.

So the $6o billion value implied by today’s report of a tender offer would help Facebook employees make money on the privately-held shares, since the social network doesn’t want to go public any time soon. This strategy seems like it intends to please all sides — investors and employees alike — but personally I wonder whether this particular tender is making the stock more volatile than it needs to be at this stage.

Facebook has already done a similar transaction during the middle of 2009, when Digital Sky Technolgies gave $100 million for employee shares, and each staff member was allowed to sell up to 20 percent of their shares at $14.77 apiece for a $6.5 billion valuation of the company.

The company isn’t commenting publicly on this rumored transaction, and we don’t expect any public comment until the deal is finalized. In the mean time, do you think Facebook is worth $60 billion?