It was a clash of theatrical proportions (it even had a theatrical analogue) with dizzying amounts of coin at stake, but are you ready for the twist ending? Surprise, it turns out the Winklevoss twins (Cameron and Tyler) along with their business partner Divya Narendra are still nipping at Facebook’s heels.
The twins announced on Wednesday that they were ending attempts to overturn a lower court ruling upholding a $65 million settlement with Facebook based on their contention that Facebook mucky-muck Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the now all-powerful social networking site. The whole mess was dramatized—faithfully or carelessly, depending who you talk to—in the Aaron Sorkin-scribed film The Social Network.
(PHOTOS: Life Inside Facebook Headquarters)
The twins had argued $65 million wasn’t enough, claiming the settlement figure was based on a lowball valuation of the company (Facebook’s worth today is estimated at in excess of $100 billion). Their Wednesday legal retreat appeared to be the end of the tale, and everyone assumed they’d ride into the sunset rich anyway beyond most of our wildest dreams. All’s well that ends with $65 million in your back pocket, right?
If that sounds kind of familiar, well, it should. Back in April, the twins and Narendra said they wanted a Boston federal court to look into whether Facebook and its legal team concealed important information—essentially a bunch of instant messages sent by Facebook’s Zuckerberg—during legal proceedings. But since they had the U.S. Supreme Court appeal on their plate, the request was suspended.
Some of the instant messages were leaked to media outlets in 2010, including one in which Zuckerberg writes of the Winklevosses “I’m going to **** them,” and another in which he writes about the Winklevosses’ social networking site: “They made a mistake haha. They asked me to make it [HarvardConnection] for them. So I’m like delaying it so it won’t be ready until after the Facebook thing comes out.”
The Winklevoss twins have essentially said that if they’d had access to any of that, they wouldn’t have agreed to the settlement. Translation: “We could’ve made a lot mo’ money.”
It’s anyone’s guess where this goes next, but an attorney for Facebook calls the charges “old and baseless” and says they’ve already been rejected by the courts.