Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Renounces US Citizenship
Brazilian-born Eduardo Saverin has ‘de-friended’ the US in a move that may reduce his tax bill ahead of Facebook’s record-breaking IPO
Eduardo Saverin, the 30-year-old billionaire who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg and others, has “de-friended” the United States, giving up his US citizenship in a move likely to reduce his tax bill.
Saverin, who was born in Brazil and educated at Harvard, made the move ahead of Facebook’s planned flotation this week, which by some estimates could value his stake in the company at around £3.4bn (£2.1bn).
Saverin has resided in Singapore since 2009, and reportedly plans to invest in companies with interests in Asian markets. Singapore has no capital gains tax.
Individuals renouncing citizenship must pay capital gains tax on their share holdings at the time that they depart. However, because Saverin departed before Facebook’s IPO, he will only be liable for an estimated pre-flotation valuation of his share in the company.
Facebook’s IPO is expected to be the largest-ever IPO by a technology company, surpassing Google’s 2004 offering, which valued the company at $23bn.
Facebook hopes it will raise as much as $10.6bn for the company. Saverin is believed to own about four percent of the company, according to whoownsfacebook.com. His holdings are not listed in Facebook’s regulatory filings, which list shareholders with 5 percent or more of the company.
The IPO is due to be priced on 17 May and is already oversubscribed, according to unnamed sources quoted by Reuters on Friday. It will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol FB.
Saverin’s change of citizenship status was listed in a US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document listing people who chose to renounce citizenship as of 30 April, Bloomberg reported over the weekend. A spokesman for Saverin told Bloomberg the move was “practical” since he plans to live in Singapore indefinitely.
Saverin was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the family moved to Miami in 1993 after it was discovered that his name had been placed on a list of underworld kidnapping targets.
He has a fortune estimated at $2bn by Forbes and has invested in start-ups such as automated publishing tool Qwiki and payments service Jumio.
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