Peter Thiel has sold three-quarters of the Facebook shares he picked as Mark Zuckerberg’s first venture capitalist, even as the Silicon Valley boycott against him intensifies.
Thiel already had a big week by cutting ties with the Y Combinator investor fund. He then sold 160,805 shares of Facebook stock for about $29 million, cutting the last of his holdings to 59,913 Class A shares.
Thiel turned $500,000 in July 2004 into over $1 billion by investing in a rudimentary social networking company started by Harvard drop-outs Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin that later became known as Facebook, Inc.
Lately, Breitbart News has noted that Thiel has been the target of a concerted Silicon Valley effort, led by Ellen Pao and her “Project Include,” in retaliation for his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention and his unforgivable sin of making a $1.25 million campaign contribution to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Project Include has run an aggressive Internet boycott campaign against Thiel that has called on consumers, job candidates, partners, and other fellow progressive travelers to retaliate against Thiel’s friends and business associates by ending relationships with any organization with which he is associated.
Pao is most infamous for unanimously losing her 2015 gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in a San Francisco jury trial against the prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. The court found Pao’s story so unbelievable that the federal judge forced Pao to pay KPCB $276,000 in legal fees.
Thiel sold 16.8 million shares in Facebook’s 2012 IPO for about $640 million; sold another 20 million of his shares for $400 million within a year; and sold 1 million shares for about $100 million in 2016. Facebook’s spokesman told Reuters that Thiel’s sales were routine and would have no impact on his continuing as a company director.
Anger against Thiel just hit a new high after the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, unveiled a plan this week to dump the Obama administration’s Net Neutrality rules that favored Silicon Valley Internet provider monopolies over telecom providers.
The Silicon Valley-dominated Internet Association trade group, which heavily funded by Facebook and Google, called ending Net Neutrality an effort to defy the will of millions of Americans.
But Net Neutrality generated billions of dollars in extra profits for Silicon Valley and was a major reason the S&P Internet Stock Index spiked by over 140 percent since Net Neutrality was first proposed in 2013 — even as investment in new telecommunications infrastructure stagnated.