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The news that Square is pricing its IPO below already modest expectations might be worrisome enough for the Valley of the Unicorns.

But thanks to some analysis and a little digging by the Wall Street Journal, we have learned that it’s even worse for all those startups with bloated billion-dollar valuations than we first realized.

Here’s why:

Yesterday, Square said it had priced its IPO at $9, below an expected range of $11 to $13. Ouch.

The problem is that last year Square raised $150 million, with investors paying $15.46 per share. There’s a significant gap between $9 per share and $15.46 per share, for the math-impaired among you.

But wait, it gets worse.

That’s because, as part of that funding agreement, the investors were expecting a 20 percent return, which roughly means they expected the stock to be worth more than $18 per share.

So, double the actual offering price.

As a result, Square has to compensate these investors by giving them more stock, about $93 million worth, according to the WSJ.

Such agreements, in the VC world, are known as “ratchets.”

At this point, we’ve lost count of the number of so-called unicorns, and the term has become nonsensical, given that the planet now has an abundance of them.

But while it’s trendy to stay private as long as possible, at some point every VC-funded startup needs an exit, so investors can get a return (or not).

And with unicorns like Evernote stumbling, and publicly traded former unicorns like Groupon imploding in slow motion, it would seem that the stock markets are not super-duper excited about the herd of unicorns roaming the wilds of Silicon Valley, saddled with sky-high valuations.

That leaves mergers and acquisitions, but there’s only so many companies that the Google-Facebook-Apple-Microsoft axis can buy.

It may not yet be time to thin the herd. But don’t be surprised if the unicorns are looking a bit more nervous these days.

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