Don't Worry About the "Ultimate Insider" and His Facebook Move

Yesterday one of my esteemed colleagues, Alex Dumortier, told you to fret over Peter Thiel's selling of Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) . This sentiment has been widely shared among the media, including Jim Cramer, who practically had a heart attack on television yelling -- I mean "talking" -- about it. 

Don't believe the fear, friends. 

Facebook may or may not be a turkey, but Thiel's selling, in my opinion, is practically meaningless for long-term investors. 

Yes, he's a big insider. Yes, he has tons of money. And yes, he just sold more than 80% of his entire stake. Oh, no! Panic! Run for your lives!

But all of this misses the most important point of all: Peter Thiel is a venture capitalist, and Facebook is no longer a venture-capital investment. 

As I wrote last week, Facebook is now just another high-growth stock, a la Monster Energy (Nasdaq: MNST  )  or Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) , as indicated by how the company now trades with a similar multiple

But Peter Thiel doesn't invest in the Chipotles of the world. He invests in super-duper-duper growth stocks, a.k.a. venture capital -- hence selling Facebook. (He also manages a global macro fund, Clarium Capital, but a global macro fund makes macroeconomic bets and not individual stock plays.)

LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) , by contrast, is still more in its venture infancy and has the P/E (more than 800) to prove it, so it makes perfect sense for a venture capitalist like Thiel to still hold LinkedIn but not Facebook.

Your risk and return objectives are different from Thiel's
I hate to break it to you, but it's highly doubtful that Facebook will return 159% per annum over the next eight years: That's the return Thiel has realized on his Facebook investment, turning $500,000 into $1 billion -- a 2,000-bagger. Thiel the venture capitalist and angel investor knows this, so he's off to find the next 2,000-bagger, even if it means paying kids not to go to college. 

So it should be clear that his risk tolerance and return objectives are way, way, beyond us mere mortals. To him, Motley Fool Rule Breakers would be like throwing money under the mattress. He'd see it as one big sleeping pill. It wouldn't be risky enough, or have enough upside, for him. 

But chances are you're not Peter Thiel. You're not a venture capitalist or an angel investor. You're not realistically hoping for a 2,000-bagger, nor do you want the indigestion that comes with one.

You're an individual investor. You'd love just 26% per year, which gives you a 10-bagger in just 10 years. Peter Thiel, by contrast, would laugh at that return from an individual company.

And precisely because of that, you shouldn't read into his selling. Instead, you should try to collect as much quality research as you can before either going long or short Facebook's stock (or any other stock for that matter). Thankfully, the Fool can lend a hand here. Some of our most respected analysts recently issued a new premium research report on Facebook, along with 12 months of free updates.

Fool contributor Chris Baines is a value investor. Follow him on Twitter, where he goes by @askchrisbainesChris' stock picks and pans have outperformed 96% of players on CAPS. He owns no shares of any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Facebook, Monster Beverage, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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