Facebook has spent 2012 making the sort of big-money rollercoaster-tycoon moves that send the go-go ’80s Reaganauts on Wall Street into fits of gold fever, while more sober critics begin pondering just how inflated a bubble can be before it bursts. Just a few weeks away from the company’s presumably-massive IPO, Facebook announced that it was buying the retrogasm delivery system known as Instagram for a cool billion dollars. Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook CEO and fencing enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg closed the Instagram deal on his own, without alerting the board of directors. Zuckerberg apparently invited Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom over to his house, where they haggled over the price of Instagram. (Per the Journal, Systrom initially wanted $2 billion.)
After essentially closing the deal with a handshake — followed, one assumes, by a rejuvenating caviar bath and two glasses of 60-year-old MacCutcheon scotch — Zuckerberg then announced his plans to Facebook’s Board of Directors.
The Journal expresses some concern that “those sorts of fast decisions, commonplace among scrappy, private start-ups, get trickier in the more structured world of multibillion-dollar public corporations where Facebook will soon operate.” Translation: If Zuckerberg is still pulling spur-of-the-moment moves like this, is he really ready to be head of a publicly-traded company? Of course, as Slate pointed out a couple months ago, the shares of Facebook’s IPOs were specifically structured to give Zuckerberg 57 percent of voting rights in his company. (All shareholders are equal, but some shareholders are more equal than others.) Like everything Facebook does, this will be a controversy until it isn’t.
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