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from the L.A. Times

Chinese government may be looking at buying 'huge chunk' of Facebook shares

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The Chinese government is looking into buying a stake in Facebook ahead of the social network's widely expected initial public stock offering in 2012.

The possible investment, which was reported by the website Business Insider, would land the communist government a "huge chunk" of shares in the Palo Alto-based company.

Citing an unnamed source "at a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees," the website said China wants an investment "large enough 'to matter.'"

A second unnamed source told the site that Citibank is looking to buy about $1.2 billion worth of Facebook shares for two different wealth funds -- one belonging to the Chinese government and another belonging to group from the Middle East.

Officials at Citibank were unavailable on Tuesday to comment on the report.

Facebook recently sold 225,000 shares, worth about $6.6 million, to the GSV Capital Corp. investment fund and added Reed Hastings, Netflix's chairman and CEO, to its board of directors.

Facebook, which is the world's most popular social media service, is believed to be worth as much $100 billion.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at company headquarters in Palo Alto in 2010. Credit: Robert Galbraith / Reuters

 
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