Two months ago, Russian investment firm Digital Skies Technology (DST) invested $200 million dollars into Facebook for a two percent slice of the social networking site in the form of preferred stock, saying at the time that DST would buy up to $100 million in common stock from existing shareholders as well at some point in the near future. Last week, the firm moved forward with the employee stock purchase part of the deal.
Under the agreement, DST will buy up to $100 million dollars in Facebook common stock at a $6.5 billion dollar valuation, or $14.77 per share. Current and former employees quality for the program, but it appears that former employees may be at the back of the line, according to Reuters, with no guarantee that they will be included in the program.
Facebook didn’t comment on the terms of the deal, but if the terms of the employee stock purchase agreement do indeed give current employees first dibs on the program, then former Facebook employees may find themselves banking on the hope that DST will buy more shares when the currently ongoing program ends soon – or wishing Facebook would go public sometime sooner rather than later, as it’s not clear when the next liquidity opportunity might be.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Newsweek recently that he was glad the employee stock sale was moving forward.
“I’m really happy that people have a chance to do this. Back in the early days I had the chance during one of our funding rounds to get a bit of liquidity,” Zuckerberg said. “It meant that in making decisions about Facebook I didn’t have to worry about the short term. I could just work on making Facebook as good as possible, and optimize it for 10 to 20 years out. To the extent that other people have the chance to do that now, it would be a healthy thing.”