Though Facebook won’t be offering up shares until it goes public -- rumor has it this time next year -- organizations like T. Rowe Price have provided a minuscule loophole. The financial services holding company disclosed a US$ 190.5 million investment in the social network, which it distributed over 19 different mutual funds.
Mutual fund companies generally buy shares in publicly traded companies, but T. Rowe Price has been particularly aggressive about private investing with previously reported investments in Zynga and Groupon.
The company reportedly paid US$ 25 per share for Facebook stock.
"The more ground you cover, the more likely you are to find the best opportunities," explained Ken Allen, who manages the T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund.
These investments are small-scale relative to the T. Rowe Price's overall portfolio -- a whopping US$ 482 billion. Keeping them this size means they aren't make-or-break, but they underscore a growing interest in young tech companies.
Further, they give average joes a chance to partake in the Web investment boom. For example: T. Rowe’s Global Technology Fund owns US$ 1.7 million of the Facebook stock and requires a US$ 2,500 minimum investment.
Facebook raised additional funds earlier this year from Digital Sky Technologies and Goldman Sachs in a US$ 1.5 billion round, and was recently valued at US$ 65 billion.