Microsoft And Facebook Director Peter Thiel Unload Stock

By Justin Lafferty 

It was rumored that Facebook Director Peter Thiel was going to sell some of his stock in the social network when it was possible. The rumor is now fact. CNBC reported Monday that Thiel offloaded nearly all of his shares — about 22 million of them (2 million of which were distributed to his limited partners). Microsoft also sold 20 percent of its Facebook stock, which dipped below $19 per share Monday before rallying to $20.01 at closing time. The fallen stock price has an effect on the social network’s pending Instagram acquisition, as well.

While earlier reports suggested that Thiel would only sell a portion of his stock, filings show that he sold nearly all of it. Earlier, Thiel converted more than 9 million shares from class-B to class-A in an effort to make them easier to sell. Thiel also offloaded 16.8 million shares when Facebook went public.

Last week, news broke that Accel Partners, one of Facebook’s early investors, did away with about 50 million shares (roughly $1 billion in value). It was assumed that more investors and venture capitalists would follow Accel’s lead.

Thiel and Accel weren’t the only major players to sell stock, though. ZDNet reports that Microsoft also parted ways with about 20 percent of its stake in Facebook after it went public. Microsoft was a key investor in the social network, which integrated Bing Maps, Bing Translation, and Bing Search into its platform. Bing Search deepened its Facebook integration earlier this summer, as well.

The falling stock price (from $38 at Facebook’s initial public offering to about $20 now) has had a deleterious effect  on the site’s pending acquisition of photo application Instagram. Once valued at $1 billion — including Facebook stock — Mashable reports that the deal is now worth roughly $735 million. Though the deal has been approved in the U.K., it still has to clear hurdles in America before it can be made official.

Readers: How low will Facebook’s stock sink?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.