General Atlantic reportedly purchasing 0.1 percent of Facebook (2.5 million shares)
Investment firm General Atlantic has agreed to buy one tenth of one percent of Facebook in a transaction that values the social networking company at $65 billion, according to unnamed sources close to the deal. Though General Atlantic and selling shareholders have already come to an agreement, the transaction cannot close until it has received Facebook’s stamp of approval. For the deal to take place, General Atlantic must purchase about 2.5 million shares from former Facebook employees. Neither General Atlantic nor Facebook have yet commented on the report. Just two months ago, Facebook closed a $1.5 billion round of funding--$500 million from Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST), The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and funds managed by Goldman Sachs and another $1 billion from Goldman Sachs’ non-U.S. clients. That round valued the company at $50 billion. How Facebook’s valuation could grow 30 percent in such a short period is mind-boggling, but it wouldn’t be the first time. Between November 1 and December 17, 2010, Facebook’s valuation hopped and skipped from $30 billion to $35 billion to $50 billion to $60 billion, according to sales of shares on the secondary market. General Atlantic manages $17 billion in capital and typically invests between $50 million and $500 million in eight to 12 private and public companies every year. The firm recently (October 2010) led a $95 million round (along with Index Ventures) for Privalia, a private sales club. Gilt Groupe, another private sales service, also counts General Atlantic among its investors.
Following Facebook's constantly fluctuating valuation is a bit of a chore these days, so we'll be sure to follow this story closely for our readers.