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Zuckerberg Loses $6.4 Billion (on Paper)

Mark Zuckerberg
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Mark Zuckerberg

In the run-up to Facebook’s initial public offering on Friday, Mark Zuckerberg’s post-IPO fortune was forecasted at about $25 billion. After the social-network giant’s stock stumbled out of the gate, the share price rose from the $38 set by underwriters to $45.

At that moment, the value of Zuckerberg’s 533.8 million shares of Facebook stood at about $24 billion. By the time the stock closed, settling near the opening price, his holdings were worth more like $20.3 billion.

Then, early this morning West Coast time, as Zuck likely recovered from his surprise wedding celebration this weekend, the Facebook CEO and Chairman lost another nearly $2 billion, as the company’s share price slipped to the $33 range.

From its highest point to its low in this morning’s trading, Zuckerberg has lost $6.4 billion on paper overall.

His decline in fortunes measured from the opening price amount to $2.6 billion. Taken together, all of Facebook's owners and investors have taken a hit on paper of more than $11 billion since the stock began trading.

(To put things into perspective, 243 companies in the S&P 500 have market-cap values less than $11 billion.)

Paper losses like Zuckerberg’s are not uncommon when an individual’s net worth is so closely tied to a single stock—and a volatile one at that. And the biggest players are prone to the greatest losses.

In the worst days of the 2008 market collapse, casino king (and Newt Gingrich supporter) Sheldon Adelson was losing money at the rate of more than $4 million an hour. For that year, even the sagacious Warren Buffett was down some $16 billion.

Despite the relatively brief lock-up period stipulated in Facebook offering deal (see Robert Frank's post last Friday), the stock’s rollercoaster ride may convince Zuckerberg to hang onto his stock – at least until the market gets less skittish about Facebook’s profits, or about equities in general.

Or he could decide to cut his losses and sell a few million shares sooner rather than later.

What do you think Zuckerberg will do: hold or sell?

You can track the value of all the major Facebook shareholders’ holdings with our Facebook Real Time Wealth Tracker here.