409A valuation ‘shell game’: New York Times

BVWireIssue #174-4
March 22, 2017

An article in the New York Times pulls back the curtain on 409A valuations and reveals how hot private tech firms use them to “control the market for the stock while rewarding themselves and key employees with cheap shares that seem instantly worth a lot more than the price at which they were issued.” The article also talks about the lucrative nature of a 409A engagement (“$50,000 a pop”) and having the meter running while valuation firms and auditors are “arguing over false precision.” The article’s author contacted the SEC to ask whether it has examined the “odd discrepancies” in 409A valuations, but the agency would not comment.

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