Facebook Shares Close Near High At $82.5 Billion

By Jackie Cohen Comment

Facebook stock closed at a price of $33 apiece in the latest auction on SharesPost, which sold 80,000 shares in an oversubscribed round of bidding. Assuming the social network still has 2.5 billion shares outstanding, the company now carries a value of $82.5 billion.

We’re re-checking whether the number of outstanding shares remains at the 2.5 billion number, and will update this post with any new information. Meanwhile, a copy of the email from SharesPost follows below:

Hello Jackie,

We are pleased to inform you that SharesPost’s affiliated broker-dealer has completed its auction of 80,000 shares of the Class B Common Stock of Facebook Corporation. The response of the SharesPost community to the auction was substantial and the auction was signifcantly oversubscribed. A clearing price of $33.00 was established at the auction. Members submitting Qualifying Bids at or above the clearing price will be contacted shortly with instructions on next steps for completing this transaction.

SharesPost members who wish to be informed of and be eligible to participate in future auctions of private company securities must first be qualified by our affiliated broker-dealer as an accredited investor under the securities laws. To get qualified, please click on the green button below. We look forward to serving you at SharesPost in the future.

The new high might at first seem to reflect a flurry of rumors about Facebook stock, but the time lag between SharesPost’s bidding window plus the time it takes to clear transactions and announce results could mean that not all of the reported gossip has impacted the price. We know that public stocks clear in three days, but have yet to hear of any set schedule for clearing private stock sales.

Let’s recap recent unconfirmed media reports about things that might have influenced Facebook’s stock price:

  • On February 10, the blogosphere buzzed with the story that the social network might let its employees collectively sell up to $1 billion worth of shares directly to institutional investors; regardless of whether or not this one proved true, it most likely would have a downward pressure on stock prices.
  • This past Friday, the Street squawked with word that General Atlantic may have bought 2.5 million shares of Facebook, which regardless of whether it proved true or false might have driven the share price up.
  • That same day, rumors circulated about one of the co-founders wanting to sell 10 million shares, a phenomenon which would move prices down regardless of whether it proved true or false.

Because all three of the aforementioned items remain unconfirmed, none of them can serve as a basis for comparing how the value of Facebook has changed over time — although all points of comparison testify to how volatile private shares are compared to the public market.

The last confirmed transaction on SharesPost, that came in at a valuation of $82.9 billion on January 28 (we spent a lot of time rechecking that one, too). Go with the numbers put out when the social network confirmed that Goldman Sachs led an investment and the site gets a value of $50 billion. Another reliable number would come from the other venue that trades Facebook shares, SecondMarket, which last reported an auction closing at $28.26 per share at the end of January, giving the social network an implied value of $65.5 billion.

It would be simply too melodramatic to compare today’s valuation of $82.5 billion with the $65 billion that surfaced Friday amid reports of General Atlantic reportedly buying shares in Facebook . That kind of jump in value makes the shares of the social network resemble a derivatives contract or the first day of an initial public offering.

Readers, what do you think of this latest valuation, and how much do you think Facebook is worth?