Exclusive: Twitter nears $10 billion valuation

Feb 01, 2013

FORTUNE -- Twitter isn’t done letting early employees sell shares, Fortune has learned. But the stakes have been raised substantially.

Last Friday, the Financial Times reported that BlackRock (blk) was buying around $80 million of shares at a valuation just north of $9 billion. We later added that the only sellers would be a small group of early employees, which were said to be fewer than two dozen. Existing Twitter investors were not invited to sell.

Fortune has now learned from multiple sources that there is yet another block of early employee shares available, at a valuation of $9.9 billion. The shares would be secured by a fund affiliated with Gentry Venture Partners, which has been pitching the deal to clients.

It would seem the premium was to prevent the offering from being prevented by Twitter, which has been particularly stingy with employee liquidity -- apparently in a response to the Facebook (fb) free-for-all. No word yet on how many shares are in the block, or how well Gentry is doing in terms of attracting interest.

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