Microsoft offloads 20 percent of its Facebook shares: report

Microsoft offloads 20 percent of its Facebook shares: report

Summary: Microsoft has reportedly sold one-fifth of its shares in Facebook shortly after the social network's public offering in May.


A report suggests Microsoft has offloaded around 20 percent of its shares in Facebook shortly after it went public. In doing so, the software giant received $249 million back -- close to $10 million more than it first invested.

The Redmond, WA.-based company invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007 for a 1.6 percent stake in the social network. Back then it wasn't a huge amount, but was a major boost for Facebook to have a then-dominant player on its roster. Soon after, Bing Search and Bing Maps were brought to the social network to display search results and other imagery for pages and businesses. 

An Associated Press report said Microsoft sold 6.6 million shares -- roughly 20 percent -- when the social network went public. Despite Nasdaq's embarrassing and ill-timed hiccup, Microsoft sold its shares at the IPO price, a world away from Facebook's current trading price.

Screenshot 2012-08-20 at 11.41.13
Despite the odd bump, NASDAQ:FB is down by half since its IPO in May.

Add up the numbers: number of shares multiplied by the share price: more than $249 million in total. Maybe Microsoft foresaw the steep decline in Facebook shares and sold early, or maybe it's just good business sense. Either way, Microsoft still has an 80 percent stake of its shares in the company.

Facebook is trading at $19 a share, down from $38 at its initial public offering in May. The social network has lost half its share value in one three-month quarter.

Questions were left with Microsoft but did not respond at the time of writing. 

Correction at 11:20 ET: Facebook hit the market in May, not June, as was previously stated.

Topics: Microsoft, Tech Industry, Social Enterprise

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  • Poor Facebook

    Totally blew their IPO. Their own fault, and the fault of the investment bankers they trusted, who saw nothing but dollar signs and led Facebook down a wrong path. I suppose Facebook can turn the stock plunge around, but they will have to show they can make money, not just have 1 billion friends.
    • When it hits $15/share, might be a good buy.

      But the IPO price was silly.
  • Not bad

    made 10 million, and still hold 80% of it's stake.

    Wish all my investments worked so well. ;)
    William Farrel
  • Nice...

    Nice to see *somebody* made money on Facebook shares, even if it was Microsoft.
  • Only 4% Return

    How long had they been holding those shares? If it had been 3 months, then great; 12 months, not so great.
  • Microsoft is Intelligent

    I think Steve Ballmer knew that. It was very intelligent. They recovered what they invested and the rest is already profit. Thats no Risk.
  • ...

    "Maybe Microsoft foresaw the steep decline in Facebook shares.."

    Jesus, everyone (with half a brain) foresaw that.
    Scarface Claw