leafar. via FlickrYesterday, it was reported that one of Tumblr’s earliest investors, Union Square Ventures, received a 5,000% return on investment when Yahoo purchased the social content company for $1.1 billion.
While Union Square Ventures did receive a significant amount from the deal, the firm says it was nowhere near that high – something investors don’t normally admit to.
“Total garbage. There is not one fact in this PrivCo thing that is close to right,” USV partner Fred Wilson clarified on Hacker News yesterday. “The numbers are good but nowhere close to that good,”
So what was USV’s actual return on investment?
According to Fortune’s Dan Primack, it received “$192 million in proceeds.” Spark Capital invested the same amount as Union Square Ventures, so according to Primack, the Boston-based firm also took home $192 million. Their stake was 35% combined and they invested $13 million each.
The initial report also stated that Spark Capital’s Bijan Sabet took home $77 million himself from the deal. Primack says that isn’t true. “The returns all are at fund-level rather than for individual partners,” he writes. “In other words, Spark’s Sabet likely makes millions off of this deal based on his share of Spark’s “carried interest” – but nothing close to $77 million.”
We reached out to Spark Capital’s Bijan Sabet about his firm’s return. While Sabet wouldn’t comment on the exact amount, he did say this:
“Yes that Crains and PrivCo report was just garbage. Everything was wrong. I can’t reveal specifics. But I can tell you we are thrilled with our investment. And USV and spark happily invested the same amount in every round.”