Zuckerberg pledges to keep Facebook shares

Posted by Emma Woollacott

With its stock price languishing, Facebook has announced that it won't be making a secondary offering of its shares, and that Mark Zuckerberg will hang on to his own for at least another year.

When the company went public earlier this year, it said it planned to sell more stock in what's known as a 'follow-on', in order to pay its $2 billion tax bill.

Instead, it says in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it will pay using its cash reserves, along with credit.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg won't sell any shares for at least a year, while board members Marc Andreessen and Don Graham will sell only some, to cover taxes.

However, employees are to be allowed to sell up to 234 million shares two weeks sooner than originally announced, on October 29 - if they want to, that is. This is three days after the company is due to report its third quarter results; which could possibly bump the share price up a little.

Facebook's stock price has, famously, plummeted since its IPO in May, reaching an all-time low of $17.55 yesterday - around half the original $38 price.

At the time of the IPO, Zuckerberg sold 30 million shares, but still has  444 million shares of Class B common stock, as well as an extra 60 million Class B shares issuable upon the exercise of an option.

Were he to sell at this point, it could be seen to imply that even he has no confidence in the firm's stock. However, concerns about the company's performance in the mobile market mean the price doesn't look likely to shoot up any time soon.