The SEC wants information about the surging private stock exchanges that have grown up around top social networks, the New York Times reports. Shares of Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, and LinkedIn are all sought-after commodities—though none of the companies are publicly held. As the exchanges gain popularity, Wall Street investment pools are emerging to buy shares in the firms.
Sellers of shares tend to be the networks’ former employees and early venture capitalists exiting their stakes. Their buyers are usually rich investors hoping to jump in early on the next Google or Apple, the Times notes. This year, the top such exchange is expected to perform some $400 million worth of trades. “We are serving a growing need,” says the head of another exchange. “A decade ago, these companies would be public by now.”