Feb 9, 2007

Numbers Out on How Rich the YouTube Deal Was

Everyone suspected that the investors, founders and early employees of YouTube made tidy sums when it was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion in stock late last year.

But until yesterday, few knew just how tidy those sums were. The answer, which Google delivered in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is now in: The sums are big enough to spark a new wave of envy across Silicon Valley.

The biggest windfalls went, not surprisingly, to the company’s three founders and to Sequoia Capital, the main financial backer of YouTube, the popular video-sharing site.

A founder and YouTube’s chief executive Chad Hurley received 694,087 shares of Google and an additional 41,232 in a trust. Based on Google’s closing price yesterday of $470.01, the shares are worth more than $345 million.

Another founder, Steven Chen, received 625,366 shares and an additional 68,721 in a trust, for more than $326 million.

Sequoia Capital XI, the Sequoia fund that invested close to $11.5 million in YouTube from November 2005 to April 2006, was listed as having 941,027 shares, which are valued at more than $442 million.

The filing lists a Sequoia Capital XI Principals Fund owning 102,376 shares, valued at more than $48 million, and Sequoia Technology Partners XI with 29,724 shares, valued at nearly $14 million.

Sequoia, considered one of the most successful venture capital firms in the country, was also a principal investor in Google.

The third founder of YouTube, Jawed Karim, who left the company early on to pursue a graduate degree in computer science, received 137,443 shares worth more than $64 million.

In addition, several funds affiliated with Artis Capital Management, a San Francisco hedge fund managed by Stuart L. Peterson that was a co-investor with Sequoia, were listed as having received 176,621 shares, valued at $83 million.

When the deal was announced in October, YouTube was less than two years old and had about 70 employees. Several of the early employees are listed in the filing statement as owning thousands of Google shares.

The acquisition, the biggest in Google’s history, put the Internet search giant in the leading position in the rapidly growing world of online video. But the acquisition has been clouded by threats that Google could be sued by movie studios and other content owners over the proliferation of copyrighted material on the YouTube site. Just last week, Viacom demanded that Google remove from YouTube more than 100,000 video clips it claimed to own.

*This article is taken from The New York Times.

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