/// Wall Street Eyes Facebook’s Ticker With 271 Million Employee Shares About to Drop
As many Facebook employees’ restricted stock units vested on Thursday, all eyes will be on Facebook’s share price come early November. That’s when 271 million shares of the company’s stock will be issued to pre-2011 Facebook employees, and those shares will be available for trade on the Nasdaq for the first time next week. That includes upwards of 45 million shares from six members of Facebook’s executive team, according to a series of SEC filings made Friday: Facebook VP general counsel Ted Ullyot, COO Sheryl Sandberg, marketing VP David Fischer, VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer, CFO David Ebersman and chief accounting officer David Spillane. It’s good news for early employees who want to finally spend some of their hard-earned stock on any number of creature comforts. The thing to watch, however, is just how many employees decide to cash out right away. If too many shares flood the market at once, it could deal another blow to the company’s stock price , which has already had a rough time, cut nearly in half during its first six months on the Nasdaq. This is only one in a series of lock-up expiration dates. The first occurred back in August, which allowed Facebook’ original investors ( like Peter Thiel ) to first sell shares. But the big day has yet to come. On November 14th, upwards of one billion shares become tradable on the public market. There is way to tell who will be selling among the company’s 3,000-plus employees. But we should expect staggered sales from the company’s executive team. Since they’re privy to inside information at the highest levels, they’re required to sign up for a plan which sells shares automatically over a pre-determined period of time (under SEC Rule 10b5-1, for the finance wonks out there). Ideally, it’ll keep the market from jumping every time an executive team member sells off shares, and it’s common practice across major public companies. One person who won’t be selling right away? CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who plans to wait at least a year until cashing in any of his stock.