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Zuckerberg WON'T flog his Facebook shares for a year

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Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed he will not sell any of his shares in his social networking website for one year.

His declaration, in a regulatory filing on Tuesday, came as his company's stock bombed once again on Wall Street: it scored a new all-time low price of $17.55 before closing at $17.73 on Nasdaq. Shares recovered slightly in after-hour trading, climbing nearly 2 per cent to $18.07.

In an 8-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Team Zuck stated:

Mark Zuckerberg has not adopted a Rule 10b5-1 Plan and has informed us that he has no intention to conduct any sale transactions in our securities for at least 12 months. Mr Zuckerberg currently holds in aggregate approximately 444 million shares of Class B common stock as well as 60 million shares of Class B common stock issuable upon the exercise of an option.

However, the 28-year-old CEO isn't just trying his best to limit the damage caused by high-profile investors, such as Peter Thiel, all but fleeing the social network as the company tackles a $1.9bn tax bill.

But Facebook said it won't use shares to foot that hefty expense as it might further depress the network's stock - which has halved in value since the firm floated in May. Instead, it plans to use cash stockpiles or credit to settle its tax bill, which is due after compensating employees with vested restricted stock units. The company has waived a so-called "market stand-off" for its staff who have shares in Facebook. It said in the 8-K filing:

Accordingly, we expect that a total of approximately 234 million shares held by employees who are employed by Facebook through October 15, 2012, will be eligible for sale in the public market as of market open on October 29, 2012.

Two prominent directors of Facebook - Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and Washington Post Company chairman Donald Graham - have agreed not to sell any of their personal shares in the network, with the exception of tax obligations that need to be paid off. ®

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