(Bloomberg) — Facebook Inc. director Peter Thiel sold most of his stake in the operator of the world’s largest social-networking website, bringing his divestment to date to more than $1 billion, after restrictions on insider sales ended.
Thiel, one of Facebook’s earliest investors, sold about 20.1 million shares in the company on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17, raising $395.8 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The sale, including $640.1 million in proceeds from the initial public offering, makes the venture capitalist and hedge- fund manager one of the biggest beneficiaries of Facebook’s rise. Concern that early investors, including Thiel -- who initially invested $500,000 in the fledgling startup in 2004 -- would sell holdings has been weighing on the stock.
Shares in Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, which are down by almost a half from the May 17 initial public offering, rose 5 percent to $20.01 at the close in New York today.
Facebook last week unlocked 271.1 million shares, the first of five insider-sale restrictions scheduled during the company’s first year as a public company. Another 1.44 billion shares will be freed up through November.
The share sales revealed today were tied to a trading plan adopted by Thiel on May 18, Facebook’s first day of trading, according to the regulatory filing. Thiel still holds more than 5 million shares. The reported proceeds don’t reflect underwriter or broker fees.
(Bloomberg) — Groupon Inc. backers Battery Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz have divested their stakes in the daily-deal website, joining a group of early investors who have sold the stock and added pressure to slumping shares.
Battery sold all of its 15.99 million shares earlier this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Andreessen Horowitz sold its 5.1 million shares in June, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the sale wasn’t publicly disclosed.
“These are the people that were the initial backers that probably know more about the details behind Groupon’s results than the general public,” said Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York. “The fact that they have chosen to move their positions out of the company tells you that they obviously believe there’s likely to be more downside.”
Grace Ellis, a spokeswoman for Menlo Park, California-based Andreessen Horowitz, declined to comment on the firm’s holdings. Karen Bommart, a spokeswoman for Menlo Park-based Battery Ventures, declined to comment. Paul Taaffe, a spokesman for Chicago-based Groupon, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
(Yahoo Breakout) Shares of Facebook (FB) hit a fresh all-time low, falling as much as 6.5% in early trading after the company's insider lockup period expired. As many as 271 million shares could potentially hit the market today. It's the first of a series of expirations that could result in almost 2-billion shares being released to the public over the next two years. Facebook currently has 420 million shares in the public markets.Ironically, with all this bearishness, we're most likely to rebound from here for a few weeks and continue the collapse in a straight line.