Social networking juggernaut Facebook could file the paperwork for its much-anticipated initial public offering as early as next Wednesday, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal. If previous reports are correct, the eight-year-old company could seek to raise as much as $10 billion, making the offering the largest technology IPO in history. Facebook is looking at a valuation of between $75 billion and $100 billion, the paper reported.
Although the IPO filing could come next week, the actual offering wouldn’t be until some time in the spring.
Facebook, which has amassed over 800 million users worldwide, had revenue of about $4 billion last year, according to published reports. Its public debut would be the capstone for a series of Internet IPOs that have occurred since the beginning of 2011. The company would be hoping to avoid the less-than-successful performance of some of the other offerings. For example, discount sales website Groupon and web-radio service Pandora both saw their stock prices fall below their IPO levels.
Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, who was a student at Harvard at the time. Zuckerberg owns an estimated 24% of the company, so if the IPO succeeds in valuing the company at $100 billion, he would be worth $24 billion on paper. Over the last several years, the company has assumed a dominant position in the social-networking world. Morgan Stanley is said to be the top candidate for lead underwriter for the IPO, with Goldman Sachs also participating. In January of 2011, Goldman organized a $1.5 billion private placement for its investors. But after running afoul of SEC rules, the bank was forced to limit the placement to investors outside the United States.
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