After weeks of hype and speculation, Facebook has gone public.
This morning, company founder Mark Zuckerberg rang the NASDAQ opening bell, heralding the biggest tech IPO in U.S. history, and the third-biggest overall. At the opening price of $38 a share, Facebook will raise at least $16 billion.
Analysts have been cautioning for weeks that the IPO wouldn’t be a “get rich quick” opportunity for the individual investor. But a few people certainly got rich quick today -- actually, richer. Facebook’s founders, already astronomically wealthy, cashed in this morning in a big way.
The company’s CEO planned to sell 30.2 million shares in the IPO, which would net him more than $1 billion. But that money will go to taxes. Even so, he’ll still hold more than 500 million shares, worth around $19 billion.
Facebook’s co-founder recently used some of his massive wealth to purchase and become publisher of The New Republic. Bloomberg reports Hughes owns around 22 million shares, worth $836 million at the IPO price.
A native of Brazil who now lives in Singapore -- and who became notorious in recent weeks when it was disclosed he had renounced his U.S. citizenship – Saverin owned about 4 percent of the company’s shares before the IPO, according to Bloomberg. His fortune already in the billions, Saverin’s citizenship move could save him billions more in taxes, although he claims that wasn’t the motivation. That hasn’t stopped two U.S. senators from making him the poster boy for new legislation.
Zuckerberg’s college roommate left Facebook four years ago to pursue other ventures. Based on the Facebook’s IPO valuation, Moskovitz’s fortune is estimated at more than $5 billion, Bloomberg reports.
In addition, Facebook’s chief operating office, Sheryl Sandberg, will become a billionaire. She has two million shares, and stands to gain another 39 million if she stays with the company. Several of Facebook’s biggest investors will also join the billionaires’ club, as will early backer Sean Parker.
Others adding to their fortunes today include the founders of Instagram, which Facebook recently acquired in a $1 billion deal that's now being looked at by the feds; David Choe, a graffiti artist who painted Facebook’s headquarters and shrewdly opted for Facebook stock as payment; Winklevii; and a bunch of Facebook employees.