Anthony Quintano for Re/code
Benchmark is spreading the wealth following Twitter’s recent financial success on Wall Street.
The Silicon Valley venture capital firm returned roughly 5.3 million shares of Twitter stock to its limited partners on Friday, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. Twitter’s stock price closed at $43.13 on Friday, meaning Benchmark distributed more than $228 million back to its own investors.
The distribution doesn’t mean Benchmark sold its shares in Twitter — it just passed the ownership along to other investors. It also didn’t deplete much of Benchmark’s stake in the company; the firm, which first invested in Twitter back in 2009, still owns more than 26 million shares of Twitter stock.
Stock distributions like this aren’t uncommon. When venture firms return stock to their LPs, it gives the investors the option to hold the stock or liquidate their investment right away. It also allows Benchmark to pay back investors without dramatically altering the public stock price — selling $228 million in stock, on the other hand, would likely cause some waves.
It could, however, alter the markets if investors decide to sell right away. In April, Benchmark, along with other major investors, agreed to sit tight on its Twitter holdings as a way to show public support for the company, which was struggling on Wall Street. The stock hasn’t risen dramatically since that declaration — just about eight percent — but now there’s no way to ensure it won’t be sold off.
Twitter’s stock jumped nearly 20 percent following a solid earnings report at the end of July, and has since leveled off, up about 12 percent since Q2 earnings.