Facebook employees can sell their stock this week with a ban lifted on insider sales. Up to 234 million shares and stock options could be sold.
It appears some employees may be eager to sell shares this week. On Wednesday, Facebook shares dropped more than any other time in five weeks, news reports said.
Company shares dropped 3.8 percent to $21.11 at the close of trading on Wednesday.
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In August, a ban covering 271 million shares expired on sales by early investors and some directors. Some of these shares were held by Accel Partners, Goldman Sachs and Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder, according to The New York Times.
The AP estimated that as many as 1.5 billion shares could be sold.
The sales come after Facebook’s problem-plagued initial public offering in May. The stock has been a disappointment to some investors.
There are more key dates this year when bans will be lifted from selling Facebook shares, The AP said. On Nov. 14, 777 million shares and stock options could be sold. On Dec. 14, 156 million shares held by early investors and some others could be sold. Then on May 18, 2013 some 47 million shares held by Mail.ru Group and DST Global, who were early investors, could be sold.
The more recent sales ban was scheduled to be lifted on Monday, but did not take effect until Wednesday because the stock market was closed with the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
In August, TechZone360 reported that some of the causes of the falling stock price were an earnings report (which showed costs increasing more than projected) and lingering questions about future company growth. A few key executives (Katie Mitic and Ethan Beard) left the company. Also, Facebook reported more than 83 million Facebook accounts were duplicates or fakes.
Meanwhile, the company is trying to come up with a way to take advantage of mobile devices.
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