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Facebook's Early Investors May Have Much To Like

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Facebook's Early Investors May Have Much To Like

Facebook's Early Investors May Have Much To Like

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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And when Facebook filed to go public this week, analysts wondered whether it was really worth the $100 billion it's valued at. But there's no question about one thing: many employees are about to become very, very rich. Steve Henn reports.


STEVE HENN, BYLINE: There's this guy named David Choe.

DAVID CHOE: I love spray painting. I can't get enough of it.

HENN: Back in the day, Facebook hired him to paint graffiti murals all over the company's original office space in Palo Alto. Even Mark Zuckerberg got into the act.

MARK ZUCKERBERG: I'm going to make a tiny stick figure.

HENN: 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 Mark Zuckerberg.

HENRY BLODGET: Obviously, he should be worth a tidy $25 billion.

HENN: Henry Blodget is the editor of the Business Insider and was the bad boy analyst of the last Internet boom. This time the bad boys are becoming billionaires, like...

BLODGET: Sean Parker.

HENN: Parker was Facebook's first president and before that he co-founded Napster.

BLODGET: The man who in the movie at least famously said a million isn't cool, a billion is cool - and he will have several of them.

HENN: 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.

MICHAEL STERN: I mean, if he had been down the hall, we wouldn't be talking about him.

HENN: Michael Stern runs a website called Who Owns Facebook. He says Moskowitz wasn't the only winner of the roommate lottery. Zuckerberg's prep school roommate will walk away with a couple hundred million dollars himself.

BLODGET: A lot of people won the lottery here.

HENN: And Blodget says not all of these future billionaires are boys.

BLODGET: Sheryl Sandberg could be.

HENN: She's Facebook's COO. And after her options vest...

BLODGET: She's going to be one of the richest self-made women ever.

HENN: 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 blog at the Wall Street Journal and is the author of the new book "The High-Beta Rich," says this doesn't mean all these folks will become instant millionaires.

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

HENN: In Silicon Valley, it's become gospel to assume Facebook's IPO will create 1,000 new millionaires. And while that may well be true, Frank says really it's impossible to know for sure.

FRANK: Even those with a lot of shares will see their wealth fluctuate wildly. So the number of millionaires may change.

HENN: After all, this is a tech stock, and Franks says all this wealth is just on paper - at least for now. Steve Henn, NPR News, Silicon Valley.

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