Mark Zuckerberg Betrayed Facebook's Co-Founder In This Email

According to that movie from 2010, Justin Timberlake persuaded Mark Zuckerberg to screw his friend (and Facebook cofounder) Eduardo Saverin out of the company. Here’s the cutthroat email fact behind the movie fiction.

SAI acquired emails between Zuckerberg and his lawyer from “a well-placed source”, discussing the consequences of unceremoniously booting Saverin out of the company he’d helped create — the company that will go public this Friday at an estimated value of $US100 billion. The damning message from Zuck is below:


This email should probably be attorney-client privileged, not quite how to do that though.

Anyhow, Sean and I have agreed that a price of one-half cent per share is the way to go for now. We think we can maybe almost justify and if not, we’ll just deal with it later.

We also agreed that if the company bonusing us the amount we need for the shares, plus tax, is a good solution to the problem of us all being completely broke.

As far as Eduardo goes, I think it’s safe to ask for his permission to make grants. Especially if we do it in conjunction with raising money. It’s probably even OK to say how many shares we’re adding to the pool. It’s probably less OK to tell him who’s getting the shares, just because he might have adverse reaction initially. But I think we may even be able to make him understand that.

Is there a way to do this without making it painfully apparent to him that he’s being diluted to 10%?

OK, that’s all for now. I’ll send you the list of grants I need made in another email in a second. Sean can send you grants for his people when he stops coughing up his lungs.

Hope you guys both feel better,


Emphasis added. Zuck clearly knew what he was doing — turning Saverin’s role in the company into a microscopic one by issuing a huge bundle of new shares that would make Saverin’s stake near-worthless, and eliminate his partial control over Facebook. It was one of tech history’s most infamous coups.

Saverin, of course, did “have adverse reaction” to the ouster and sued Facebook, a legal retaliation that netted him a small piece of the company that’ll soon be worth around $US5 billion — enough for him to renounce his US citizenship (and tax obligation) and move to Singapore. So, really, it’s had to feel bad for anyone involved here. There are no billionaire victims. [SAI]