If you've seen the Oscar-winning drama-mentary, The Social Network, then you've seen a caricature of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The film portrayed him as a savvy computer programmer, but a devious businessman who betrayed a number of people -- even his best friend -- to create and control Facebook. A pair of news stories this week spotlight the alleged misdeeds of Zuckerberg. How much could his actions cost him?
If you saw the film, then you probably remember those towering twins who allegedly had the idea for Facebook, the Winklevoss brothers. They're the ones who were whining to an unsympathetic Harvard President Larry Summers about Zuckerberg stealing from them. John Carney at CNBC's NetNet reports that a judge finally threw their case out of court -- but after they had already been provided a settlement in a prior court that will stick. In addition to $20 million in cash, they got 1.2 million in Facebook stock. Carney writes:
Perhaps more importantly, they are walking away very wealthy men. The shares were initially valued at $8.88 a share (the Winklevosses claim they were told they were worth almost $36 a share, hence the lawsuit). But these days they're probably worth far more than that--as much as $150 a share. The New York Times says that this puts the stock portion of the settlement at a $180 million valuation. Yesterday's decision means the Winklevosses are stuck with that $180 million.
That measly $200 million might not compare to Zuckerberg's net worth, but it's enough to ensure they won't have to worry about money for the rest of their lives.