Goldman staff will get $360,000 payouts

GOLDMAN SACHS'S 13,000 staff - including 2,500 in London - are to get shares worth on average $360,000 (pounds 220,000) when the firm goes public in May with a price tag of up to $24bn, according to figures released by the Wall Street investment bank yesterday.

The value of the shares that will go to the firm's 221 partners in exchange for their existing holdings works out at $52m a head, an average paper profit of $33m, although the figure hides a wide disparity in holdings, ranging from a few million at best for recent partners to potentially hundreds of millions for those right at the top the firm.

The figures come from the official filing for the initial public offering (IPO) of up to 14.7 per cent of the firm lodged last night with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The sale is worth up to $3.45bn (pounds 2.1bn), making it the second-largest IPO in New York this decade, after last October's $4.4bn offering in Conoco. It is the firm's second attempt to go public, the first having collapsed last autumn after the Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund bail-out.

The 125 limited partners - retired former senior staff - will get a cash payment of $892m from the proceeds, which works out at around $7.1m each.

The firm is also planning to set up a $200m charitable foundation once the IPO is complete.

The big surprise is that the basic salary of the top five partners, including the chief executive officer Hank Paulson and the co-chief operating officers John Thornton and John Thain, is revealed here for the first time as just $600,000 - although the figure excludes bonuses paid out as shares in the partnership.

Up to 69 million shares are to be sold at $40 to $50 each. The $24bn valuation, which is the upper end of the range, would give Goldman the same market value as JP Morgan, but much lower than its two main rivals Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.

About 42 million shares will be sold by Goldman itself. The two outside shareholders - Sumitomo of Japan and the Kamahameha Activities Association, a Hawaiian educational trust - will each sell nine million shares. Another nine million will be held in reserve and may be sold if there is enough demand.

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