Facebook's Early Investors May Have Much To Like

  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who famously created the site at his Harvard dorm room in 2004, owns 28.2 percent of the company. After the IPO, he could be worth $28 billion.
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    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who famously created the site at his Harvard dorm room in 2004, owns 28.2 percent of the company. After the IPO, he could be worth $28 billion.
    Paul Sakuma/AP
  • Dustin Moskovitz (left) was Zuckerberg's roommate at Harvard. His 7.6 percent stake would be worth more than $7 billion.
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    Dustin Moskovitz (left) was Zuckerberg's roommate at Harvard. His 7.6 percent stake would be worth more than $7 billion.
    Araya Diaz/Getty Images
  • Sheryl Sandberg, the Silicon Valley veteran who previously worked at Google, is Facebook's chief operating officer. Her shares could  make her more than $2 billion.
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    Sheryl Sandberg, the Silicon Valley veteran who previously worked at Google, is Facebook's chief operating officer. Her shares could make her more than $2 billion.
    Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images
  • Artist David Choe was paid in stock when he painted the graffiti in Facebook's original office space in Palo Alto, Calif. The New York Times estimates his stake now at more than $200 million.
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    Artist David Choe was paid in stock when he painted the graffiti in Facebook's original office space in Palo Alto, Calif. The New York Times estimates his stake now at more than $200 million.
    Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was Facebook's first outside investor, paying $500,000 for 2.5 percent of the company. Now, that 2004 investment could net him $2 billion.
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    PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was Facebook's first outside investor, paying $500,000 for 2.5 percent of the company. Now, that 2004 investment could net him $2 billion.
    NPR
  • James Breyer's Accel Partners was another early investor. It owns 11.4 percent of Facebook, which could be worth $11 billion.
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    James Breyer's Accel Partners was another early investor. It owns 11.4 percent of Facebook, which could be worth $11 billion.
    Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
  • Russian CEO Yuri Milner first bought a stake in Facebook three years ago. His company, DST Global, now owns 5.5. percent, which could bring more than $5 billion.
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    Russian CEO Yuri Milner first bought a stake in Facebook three years ago. His company, DST Global, now owns 5.5. percent, which could bring more than $5 billion.
    Paul Sakuma/AP

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Facebook filed to go public this week, and many analysts expect that it will be valued between $75 billion and $100 billion on the day of its initial public offering. That would make Facebook more valuable than GM, Ford and even Goldman Sachs.

What's most remarkable is that the company has barely 3,000 employees, and many of them are about to become very, very rich.

There's this guy, David Choe. Back in the day, Facebook hired him to paint graffiti murals all over the company's original office space in Palo Alto, Calif. Even Marc Zuckerberg got into the act.

Choe was paid for his work in stock. And according to The New York Times, that stock could soon be worth $200 million.

One of the guilty pleasures of an IPO filing is getting to peer inside a company as famous as Facebook and get a glimpse of who owns what. Of course there's Zuckerberg.

"Obviously, he should be worth a tidy $25 billion," says Henry Blodget, editor of Business Insider and the bad-boy analyst of the last Internet boom.

This time the bad boys are becoming billionaires — like Sean Parker, Facebook's first president. Before that, he co-founded Napster.

"The man who, in the movie at least, famously said 'a million isn't cool — a billion is cool,' " Blodget says. "And he will have several of them."

In that movie, The Social Network, Dustin Moskowitz had little more than a cameo. He was Zuckerberg's college roommate, but he could soon be worth $7 billion.

"If he had been down the hall, we wouldn't be talking about him," says Michael Stern, who runs the website Who Owns Facebook. He says Moskowitz wasn't the only winner of the roommate lottery. Zuckerberg's prep school roommate will get a couple hundred million.

"A lot of people won the lottery here," Blodget says. And, he says, not all of these future billionaires are men.

After Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's options vest, "she's going to be one of the richest self-made women ever," Blodget says.

According to its filings, Facebook has close to 1,100 stockholders. Many more could benefit from restricted stock options. But Robert Frank, who writes the Wealth Report blog at the Wall Street Journal and is the author of the new book The High-Beta Rich, says that doesn't mean all these folks will become instant millionaires.

"More than half of this company is owned by just five large shareholders," he says. "So, like most of America, wealth in Facebook is very top-heavy, concentrated among just a few people at the top."

In Silicon Valley, it's become conventional wisdom that Facebook's IPO will create 1,000 new millionaires. And while that may be true, Frank says it's impossible to know for sure.

"Even those with a lot of shares will see their wealth fluctuate wildly. So the number of millionaires may change," he says.

After all, this is a tech stock, and Frank says all this wealth is just on paper — at least for now.

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