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SecondMarket Cuts Staff Ahead of Facebook’s Initial Offering

SecondMarket Inc., the marketplace for stock of private companies such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., fired 10 percent of its employees today ahead of Facebook’s anticipated initial public offering this year, the company said.

New York-based SecondMarket employed 150 people before the cuts, according to a spokeswoman. SecondMarket’s last auction of Facebook stock will take place on April 3, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

“In a post-Facebook market world, we have decided to eliminate some positions that are no longer core to our company’s long-term mission,” SecondMarket said in an e-mailed statement. The company will continue to hire in some areas, it said.

Facebook, which announced plans for a $5 billion IPO in February, accounted for “a meaningful proportion of the revenue last year” for private-company stock trades arranged by SecondMarket, Chief Executive Officer Barry Silbert said at a Jan. 17 briefing. Besides facilitating private stock trades, SecondMarket also helps match buyers and sellers for other thinly traded investments such as asset-backed securities and bankruptcy claims.

SharesPost Stock

Smaller rival SharesPost Inc. plans to expand headcount to about 50 by the end of this year from less than 30 currently, President and founder Greg Brogger said in a phone interview today.

“We’ve had a significant increase in business and certainly a big part of that has been in Facebook, but we’ve also seen an increase in the transaction activity across multiple companies,” Brogger said.

San Bruno, California-based SharesPost conducts private-company stock transactions in about 40 companies, according to Brogger. SharesPost conducted its final auction of Facebook stock this week, bring the total amount of the company’s equity sold on the platform to $425 million, he said.

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