Know someone in the market for a few hundred boxes of alcohol wipes, thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer or some bulletproof glass partitions? Meta is selling all this and more at its Menlo Park headquarters in an auction closing Thursday. (What, the company didn't think it could move it on Facebook Marketplace?)
The items were listed Tuesday on Silicon Valley Disposition, an auction site where companies sell off old assets like furniture, computers and, apparently, a historic working paper mill in East Texas. Meta’s impressive haul includes pallets of sanitizing spray, solar panels, cage fencing, emergency survival blankets and ponchos, ladders, air filters and even two Vespas.
Tim Stack, the chief operating officer of Silicon Valley Disposition, has seen all kinds of corporate auctions, but said the amount of hand sanitizer on offer in Meta’s auction stood out.
“This is one of the only companies that we’ve been involved in recently where hand sanitizers were being sold in such quantity,” Stack told Protocol. “They’re just in a position where they need to get rid of a lot of their surplus assets, and that just happens to be one of them.”
The address listed on the auction is 1350 Willow Road, which is part of a 59-acre site that Meta is seeking to redevelop into 1.6 million square feet of offices, 1,729 homes, a 151,603-square-foot hotel and as much as 200,000 square feet of retail space.
Even if Meta is simply preparing to move out of one or more of its buildings, one wonders why the company is auctioning off so many alcohol wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer two months before employees are set to stream back into the office. "We’re in the process of working to repurpose the building. In order to do this we have to clear out the building and its contents," said Meta spokesperson Tracy Clayton. "This includes the removal items that we have not been able to reuse, donate or otherwise have no further use. In an effort to be as sustainable as possible and not discard these items into a landfill, we determined that auctioning these would be a better route. We’ve previously donated large quantities of hand sanitizer and wipes, but have since exhausted that channel as many are unable to receive or use them at the moment."
Hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes aren’t the only interesting items up for bidding. Meta is also selling several portable, bulletproof ballistic partitions. It’s not clear why Meta has these, or why it’s getting rid of them now. Stack couldn’t say why Meta had bulletproof partitions in stock, but said he was reminded of when he helped Alphabet’s failed internet-balloon startup Loon auction off its assets, which included boat hoists turned into launch stations for balloons the size of tennis courts.
“That’s the thing with companies like the Googles and the Facebooks,” Stack said. “All these major companies have so many different divisions within their company that we just never hear of.”
Update: This story was updated Jan. 20 at 4:40 p.m. PT with Meta's statement.