Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be growing tired of having outsiders buy up small pieces of his company. Today, there’s word that Facebook has imposed a rather steep fee on private market stock sales.
Consider for a moment that E*Trade’s standard fee for a stock or options trade is $9.99. There’s even a sort of bulk discount if you exceed 150 trades per quarter, making the per-transaction fee $7.99.
Douglas MacMillan reported, by contrast, "Social networking leader Facebook has begun imposing a $2,500 fee, according to Greg Brogger, CEO of SharesPost Inc., which handles private-company stock sales."
Apples to oranges, maybe, but it seems reasonable to expect that Facebook employees will become a little less eager to sell shares as a result. Or that at least a few would-be buyers will balk when faced with the fee.
Zuckerberg’s position, meanwhile, is hard to criticize. After all, employees who try to cash in are perhaps not showing as much gratitude and/or loyalty as an organization’s founder might hope for.
Also, on a more practical level, MacMillan noted, "Having more than 500 shareholders entails financial disclosures that some companies prefer to keep private until they pursue an IPO."