Stock options are meant to encourage employees to stay. But Facebook's skyrocketing valuation has created a perverse incentive: It actually encourages employees to quit. That's because ex-employees can sell their shares at any time, while employees have had to seek permission directly from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who frowns on insiders cashing out. (Never mind that he sold $1 million in shares early in the company's history.) Facebook has created a program that lets employees sell up to 20 percent of their vested shares. A Twitter by Facebook employee Eston Bond asking for advice on selling restricted shares suggests it's already in effect.
Eager to expose Google's threats to our privacy, the National Legal & Policy Center proved so inept at technology that it ended up exposing Google cofounder Larry Page's street address in a publicity stunt. Hidden in plain sight within the NLPC's PDF document: Waverley Oaks Court, the Palo Alto street on which Page lives. (Last year, Valleywag published a Google Maps view of Page's home, but not the address.) It only took a little digging through publicly available records to turn up the actual house number — 100 Waverley Oaks Court, Palo Alto, Calif. So how much is it worth?Page was granted the deed on the property on February 18, 2005 after the historic building had been on the market for years with an asking price of $7.95 million. The rich are always cheap: Page managed to get about $1 million knocked off the price, as the next year the property was assessed at just under $7 million. By this year, the assessment was back up to $7,216,214, with the nearly 3/4-acre property alone assessed at $5.1 million. How much are the taxes on the property? $78,550.96 over the last year.
How much does one get for bungling an acquisition of Yahoo and leading a huge investment in Facebook at a questionable valuation? For former Microsoft VP and new Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson, it's at least $8.2 million in salary and signing bonus, plus 1.6 million stock options and a shot at 350,000 shares in performance-tied stock grants over the course of four years.Not to mention thousands more in relocation assistance such as covering the closing costs and paying mortgage interest on a new home near the company's Sunnyvale headquarters. No longer having to report to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer? Priceless. (Photo by AP/Elaine Thompson)
If a company's worth what someone will pay for it, than new rumors put Facebook's value at more than $6 billion. An investment banker told Silicon Alley Insider he sold employees' shares representing 0.1 percent of the company for a valuation "north of $6 billion" at a price in the "mid- to upper-seven figures," which SAI takes to mean $6 million or more. Earlier reports suggested private bankers were trying to move Facebook stock at a $4 billion valuation, so this may be a good deal for the sellers. What happened to Facebook's $15 billion valuation? That was set by a sale of preferred shares to Microsoft, whose purchase of $240 million in preferred shares came with some downside protection and a global ad deal. (Photo by CJ Sorg)
Some folks are just lucky. Susan Wojcicki, for example, rented her garage to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and thereby got a job working at Google before its IPO, where she went on to take undeserved credit for one of Google's key products. And then there are Wojcicki's four children, fortunate in their own right. Not only did they get lavish Reggio Emilia childcare designed by their mom, on her employer's dime — now it turns out they're getting a trust fund, too.
Bebo founders Michael and Xochi Birch cashed out in the nine figures with the social network's $850 million purchase by AOL. According to the invite for their farewell party, they'll be retiring to a humble, quiet cabin (which, in the Bay Area housing market, should set them back a million or two). What they aren't spending their windfall on?
How did we miss this at D6? Mark Zuckerberg said he'd had Google cofounder Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt over for dinner recently; his digs were so Spartan, Zuckerberg said, that Page got a chair, and Schmidt wound up on the floor. Zuckerberg likes to point to his one-bedroom apartment as proof that he hasn't profited from Facebook. But according to Sarah Lacy in Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, Zuckerberg cashed out $1 million in Facebook shares in an early financing round. He can afford some nice furniture, in other words; he's just too busy, or lazy, to hire an interior decorator.
Right after Microsoft withdrew its offer, Yahoo shares dropped to $20 and Carl Icahn snapped up 15 million shares. The next day, while Yahoo traded at $24 to $25, Icahn purchased another 15 million. He bought another 29 million or as Yahoo shares hovered around $25 to $26 per share. Icahn purchased the shares using options, so it wasn't obvious right away that a raid was in progress. Prices jumped $2, immediately putting Icahn in the black by at least $120 million. (Photo by AP/ho)
Under the wing of CBS, CNET CEO Neil Ashe will continue to earn his $700,000 salary. He'll also get a 100 percent bonus and, in the next 10 days, a long-term stock award of "not less than $1,625,000 per year," according to a 8-K CNET filed with the SEC yesterday. CNET CFO Zander Lurie will get such a stock award worth "not less than $1,000,000 per year."
Less than a week after Forbes sang the praises of his "modest $82,000 annual base salary," Jeff Bezos cashed in another 2.15 million shares of his Amazon.com stock, adding another $168 million to an earlier $135 million sale to boost his take for the last three months to a cool $300 million-plus. Not forgetting those less fortunate, Jeff also set aside 252 Amazon shares, or about .01 percent of last week's sales, for donation to a nonprofit.
(Photo by Zhang Yong/ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
By adding up salary, bonuses and vested or sold equity, Forbes came up with a list of the top 12 richest tech CEOs. And taking over the No. 1 slot from Steve Jobs, who slipped to 11th, is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison — who also topped the list of all American CEOs with $192.9 million in compensation in just one year. Still, not enough to bump him up to 13th place on the world billionaire chart. But surely enough to help a whole lot of cash-strapped school districts. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)
The California State Controller's Office shows that Microsoft owes Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang $3,008.46 in unclaimed dividend checks. The software giant has apparently been mailing the checks to Santa Cruz instead of a Yahoo office in Santa Clara. Is that why Yahoo hasn't yet responded to Microsoft's bid? [Forbes]
Any Yahoo can tell you that working at the troubled Web giant doesn't pay. But for former CEO Terry Semel, it really didn't. Last year, he made negative $6.2 million, Docu-Drama notes. The accounting oddity, uncovered in an SEC filing, has to do with stock awards he forfeited when he left the company last year. Don't weep for Semel: He still owns half a billion dollars in Yahoo stock, and has sold plenty, too. What shareholders may find more upsetting are the left-and-right raises Yahoo's board handed out to top Yahoo execs in 2007, a year whose horrible performance set up Yahoo for Microsoft's hostile bid. Here are the lowlights:
Anyone telling you that Federated Media, the online ad network which reps Boing Boing, GigaOm, TechCrunch and other blogs, has raised $50 million from investors is dead wrong. It's true, Oak Investment Partners and others paid $50 million for shares of Federated. But only half of that went to the company, we're told; the rest went to founder John Battelle and other employees. According to our source, Battelle's take was roughly 90 percent of the insider shares sold, or about $22 million.
Jason Calacanis once told us that he has "all the money." He got it from selling Weblogs Inc. — home of Engadget and Autoblog, among others — to AOL for $25 million. Curious to see what kind of home that kind of money buys in Los Angeles? Check out Kara Swisher's video tour of Calacanis's guest "cottage." Watch out for the bulldogs.
Metacafe cofounders Arik Czerniak and Ofer Adler — neither involved with the company's day-to-day operations — will walk away from the company with $2.5 million each, according to TheMarker. If $5 million seems like a lot, remember that YouTube cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen each cleared $326.2 million selling out to Google and that Czerniak and Adler might have turned down a $200 million to $700 million offer from Yahoo. All of which makes it even more fun to watch the video embedded below, recorded just weeks after Google purchased YouTube, where Czerniak tries to convince Bambi Francisco that Metacafe is "the largest, most popular video site."
Poor AOL CEO Randy Falco. He believes that acquiring the social network Bebo for $850 million put AOL in a "leading position" in social networking. Everyone else thinks the buy was a joke — including Bebo cofounder Michael Birch. Asked at an event yesterday about the purchase price, Birch said, "850 million is an interesting number. It's a lot bigger than some numbers and a lot smaller than some numbers. It's not a prime number." Asked how AOL bid itself up to $850 million, Birch said $800 million of it was due Bebo's popularity in Fiji. "Fiji is an up-and-coming market," the Birch told the crowd. Don't wonder why he's so giddy. Birch and his cofounder, his wife Xochi, earned $595 million on the deal.
A Fast Company cover story isn't the only inexplicable gift social-network startup Ning has received. After raising $44 million last July, Ning has raised another $60 million, cofounder Marc Andreessen reluctantly announced. (A regulatory filing uncovered by VentureBeat forced the news out of him.) Why the eight-figure round for a startup whose annual revenues are likely in the low seven figures? Andreessen says he wanted to "make sure we have plenty of firepower to survive the oncoming nuclear winter."