That’s what you’d think if you read Sarah Lacy’s exposé on Facebook’s buyback program. Apparently it came as a surprise that an excessive number of employees wanted to sell their shares before an initial public offering inaccurately projected for later this year. So why would all these employees rush to sell shares when they could be worth much more at the time of an IPO?
As Mark Zuckerberg has said repeatedly, he is in this for the long-term and giving employees the opportunity to sell some of their shares makes a lot of sense. The real question is not why employees were selling, but what percentage of their shares were being sold. Let’s say that some of these employees already had a monumental gain on their shares, why not sell some of those shares along the way? That’s what any good investor does: sells on the way up.
Granted, employees of Google were able to make it six years before cashing out (that’s how long it took for the company to go public), but with Facebook’s six year anniversary only six months away and an IPO not expected in the immediate future, many employees want some cash. As you already know, one in the hand is worth two in the bush, so take that cash whenever you can!
All employees at Facebook with shares still have at least 75 percent of their shares remaining even after the supposed “stampede” to sell out. Suddenly the decision to sell shares has turned into a story about a bunch of sell-out employees which is a bit ridiculous. Would you sell some of your Facebook shares if you had been working there for years?