LinkedIn is letting employees sell up to twenty percent of their vested stock options at a $500 million valuation, I’ve learned from a source. Another source tells me that the plan was announced at a recent company meeting, but they didn’t give me the details.
Incidentally, Facebook is letting its employees sell off a portion of their vested stock, we heard earlier today.
This moves comes at a time when private companies are finding it more difficult to go public or be acquired. With the stock market woes in recent months, previously prospective acquirers — publicly-traded tech companies — are feeling less wealthy, because their own market values have fallen and they need to watch costs.
Also, bankers are telling companies like LinkedIn and Facebook that they’ll need more revenue than previously in order to go public. More on the order of $200 million than $100 million, from our understanding.
Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn says it’s making $100 million in annual revenue (Facebook is reportedly projecting three times that much for this year). Like Facebook, LinkedIn plans to go public at some undetermined point in the future. The business networking site has meanwhile been growing fast in the US and around the world this past year.
But employees at LinkedIn and Facebook have been hard at work for years, and some are most certainly getting antsy, hoping to trade in their stock for cash. Both companies are competing with smaller and larger tech companies that can offer competitive packages using cash rather than stock options as employment incentive.
LinkedIn, like Facebook, isn’t commenting about its employee stock option plans.