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SEC investigates tech trading markets

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the opening keynote address at the f8 Developer Conference in San Francisco, Calif.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Today, there are reports the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into special trading markets for red-hot tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Thing is, these companies are not publicly listed. And yet, Facebook this week may raise $1.5 billion from wealthy clients of mega-investment bank Goldman Sachs.

From Washington, Marketplace's Scott Tong reports.


SCOTT TONG: Goldman Sachs just invested nearly half a billion dollars in Facebook. As part of the deal, Goldman's wealthy clients can get in as well. Each investor reportedly has to decide by Friday whether to put at least $2 million in. In means, into a special investment vehicle -- where special people get to buy shares of private companies.

Michael Goldstein teaches finance at Babson College

MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN: It looks like Goldman and Facebook may be using this special purpose vehicle to get around - legally get around - the 500 shareholder rule

That rule says once you have 500 shareholders, you have to give out financial information. Facebook wants investors, but wants to stay private. Because going public can be a pain.

GOLDSTEIN: It's a whole slew of rules and regulations that suck up a lot of time for CEOs.

Reports say the SEC is considering "updating" that shareholder rule, because of the Facebook case.

In Washington I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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