Monday 18 December 2017

Facebook home turf tops US rich list

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

FACEBOOK'S stock market flotation last year disappointed investors, but it sent the technology giant's home county to the top of the US rich list.

The Facebook IPO has gone down as one of the most botched stock sales in recent history, but staff at the firm, founded by Mark Zuckerberg, did benefit from the sale.

Average earnings in Facebook's home district of San Mateo County in California leapt 107pc in the last year, making it the wealthiest area in the States.

Wealth in the district shot up as many Facebook employees have either cashed in their shares or are now worth fortunes on paper, and that has seen one of the most nondescript areas of North America rocket to the top of the richest counties in the US.

Some of that same effect was felt in Dublin where around one in three of the 450 staff in Facebook's Dublin office had had share options worth more than €100,000 when the company went public.

According to figures just released by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average salary in San Mateo was $168,000 (€122,000) by the end of 2012, more than double than the same point in 2011.

Unlike statistics over here, in the US earnings include bonuses and stock options as well as basic wages.

In San Mateo County earnings among the 6,200 workers who list their occupation as being in "computer systems and design services" are well above the average.

Those people collected total wages of $6.8bn in the third quarter of 2012 alone. That works out an average take-home of $4.3m a year.

Most of Facebook staff's shares were restricted, and couldn't be sold off until November last year. That is why the earnings figure jumped at the end of 2012 rather than the weeks immediately after the firm went public.

Numerous asset managers and individual investors were taken to the cleaners and the flotation has left behind a trail of lawsuits. The share price today, at just under $25, is about a third below its $38 IPO price.

Irish Independent

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