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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winklevoss Twins Want More Money From Facebook

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Lawyers representing Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the studly twins who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for supposedly usurping the social media site from them, asked a judge today in San Francisco federal court to re-open their settlement for $65 million, claiming Facebook didn't fairly value its shares.

The twins, Olympic rowers who carry man-purses, should be getting an extra $100 million, based on a $50 billion valuation that's been bandied about, according to news reports.

The lawyer told Bloomberg that the 2008 settlement is now worth about $100 million more, given the fact that they now know more about the social networking site's true value. A recent Goldman Sachs private equity deal has set the company's total worth at $50 billion.

According to media reports, the lawyered-up twins, who graduated from Harvard, argued that they were unfairly taken advantage of by Facebook when they agreed to a settlement.

The dispute between the Winklevoss twins and Zuckerberg was depicted in the 2010 film The Social Network. The twins had founded their own social networking site, which they called ConnectU. Zuckerberg allegedly took those ideas and created Facebook. Judge John Wallace on Tuesday was asked to consider whether the Winklevoss twins were so hapless as to have been allegedly snookered a second time. Wallace expressed skepticism at the brothers' purported naivete, according to

"The founders are pretty smart people themselves.... They also had

five lawyers from two firms sitting there with them. The twins also have

a father, from the Wharton School [of Business at University of

Pennsylvania], who's very bright, and considered to be one of the top

people in valuation [of businesses]... If you have all these people

there to advise you, isn't it a little difficult to say this was one of

those things where they were taken advantage of?" 

While the brothers are savvy in some regards, they have demonstrated naivete and eccentricity in other instances. A Bloomberg-Business Week writer last fall arranged a movie outing so the brothers could comment on how the move portrayed them and Zuckerberg.

"They dress preppily, carry identical gray Tucano man purses, and occasionally bicker over how to best answer questions," writer Brad Stone reported.

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