Zuckerberg worth $1.5-billion — or not

It’s bad enough that people pay any attention to Forbes magazine’s pathetic “my portfolio is bigger than your portfolio” list of rich people, but at least most of the people on the list have actual assets that can be measured in some objective fashion — i.e., by stock-market value. But young Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, manages to get on the list at #321 with what Forbes calls a “net worth” of $1.5-billion, which is apparently based on little more than someone hitting a few numbers on a calculator. But hey, it makes for a great headline, right?

Is Facebook worth $15-billion? Not in any real sense of the word. Yes, it’s true that Microsoft paid $240-million for 1.6 per cent of the company, which theoretically values the entire company at $15-billion. But the key word there is “theoretically.” There’s about as much chance of someone buying Facebook for $15-billion as there is of me flying to the moon. In real terms, Mark Zuckerberg is worth something functionally equivalent to zero. I’d love to see him walk into a bank with a copy of the Forbes magazine list and try to get a loan for a couple of hundred million or so.

5 thoughts on “Zuckerberg worth $1.5-billion — or not

  1. Reminds me of the myths perpetuated by Forbes and others about Donald Trump's wealth. Even though he's regularly featured in rich lists as a billionaire, it's pretty clear from the evidence that his net worth is a tiny, tiny fraction of that.

    Of course, unlike Mark Z, Trump actually seems to believe he's a billionaire, and depends on this myth for his TV career and income from having real estate developers use his name on their buildings. Good story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/business/your

    • Exactly — in fact, I meant to mention Trump in the post. He's a classic example of someone whose net worth is probably close to zero — or maybe a few tens of millions at best — but who is regularly referred to as a billionaire.

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