Employees unloading stock options? It's the hot new thing

First Facebook, and now reportedly LinkedIn: employees at some of the Valley's hottest companies seem to be getting impatient that their equity hasn't translated to cash yet.

On Monday we heard that Facebook was allowing current employees to sell a delineated portion of their common stock , something that the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Now, VentureBeat's Eric Eldon, who also originally reported the Facebook tidbit, says that LinkedIn employees are going to have the option of doing the same. The business social network, Eldon wrote, is allowing current employees to sell 20 percent of their equity in the company at a $500 million valuation. That's quite a bit lower than the billion-dollar valuation reportedly bestowed upon the company after its recent $53 million Series D funding round.

LinkedIn declined comment on the report.

For both companies, it's probably a response to the fact that these Silicon Valley high-flyers are still independently run, with neither willing to cave to a buyout but with the likelihood of an IPO still less than concrete. According to VentureBeat, banks aren't willing to take the companies public unless they pull in higher profits.

Facebook more or less acknowledged in its confirmation statement Tuesday that the plan is a way for employees to "sit tight" while the company works on the " growth over profits " mantra that COO Sheryl Sandberg encapsulated in a talk at the F8 Conference last month. "To provide employees with a financial cushion while we continue to build the company, Facebook has designed a one-time program to enable employees to realize some liquidity," the statement read.

 

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