According to the business news website, Beijing approached a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees to see if it could assemble a stake large enough “to matter.” Moreover, Citibank is rumored to be trying to acquire as much as $1.2 billion of stock for two sovereign wealth funds, one from the Middle East and the other Chinese. Business Insider reports a third source, from a “very influential” Silicon Valley investment bank, confirms that Citi is representing China.
There’s little need for such concern. For one, even a billion dollar stake isn’t a very big stake in Facebook, these days. The company is expected to IPO at a $100 billion valuation. For another, China would be buying non-voting stock and would have no say in Facebok’s operations. And finally, it’s not like shareholders in Facebook have some special privilege that allows them to see what users are doing or saying.
Importantly, sovereign wealth funds are pretty distinct from their governments.
Because it’s a private company, Facebook will have to approve any sale of its stock to China. We imagine it will.