| 17.7°C Dublin

Facebook's Irish staff set for huge windfall

DUBLIN Facebook employeesare smiling as more than a third of them stand to earn six-figure windfalls from the company's floatation on the New York Stock Exchange.

An expected valuation of over $100bn would give many of the 400 staff at the Dublin offices a stake worth several hundred thousand euro each.

Facebook's employees share around 30pc of the the company as - like many companies that are either listed or expected to go public at some time - Facebook offers share options to the vast majority of its staff.

Facebook shares are being offered to the public for $38 (¤30) today in one of the biggest-ever US stock flotations.

The social media giant is now valued at more than $100bn and stands to reap up to $18.4bn from the sale of hundreds of millions of shares.

Founded in a Harvard dorm room eight years ago, the site is launching its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock market.

Trading begins two days after massive interest in the sale prompted the company to boost the number of shares it planned to sell, with 84 million more -- worth up to $3.2bn -- being added to the IPO.


But the entire increase comes from insiders and early investors, so the company will not benefit from the additional sales.

Facebook board members Peter Thiel and James Breyer are among those selling more shares, but founder Mark Zuckerberg is not increasing the number he is selling.

Investors such Bono stand to make huge sums, with music magazine NME predicting the singer will become the richest rock star on the planet.

Predictions on how much the stock will rise on the first day of trading vary greatly.

In a recent Bloomberg survey of 1,250 global investors, analysts and traders, 79pc said Facebook's valuation was not justified, with only 7pc deeming it fair.

Facebook's mobile phone platform is thought to need improvement, while its effectiveness as an advertising space has also been debated.

These doubts were brought into sharp focus on Tuesday when General Motors said it would stop advertising on the site.

Facebook has more than 900m users who log in at least once a month, but it makes only a few dollars a year from each one, chiefly through advertising.