Rumors about the Facebook IPO have been flying for years. Wednesday may be the day all the magic happens.
Rumors about when Facebook’s IPO will actually happen have been flying around for the past few years. Sources for the Wall Street Journal are convinced that it’s finally taking place this Wednesday. These same sources believe the valuation of the social network will be between $75 and $100 billion. Facebook hopes to raise $10 billion for itself, which would make it the sixth largest U.S. IPO. The largest tech IPO was Google and if Facebook succeeds in raising the $10 billion, they’ll surpass Google’s record.
The bank that will be running the show is still unknown, but many think it will be Morgan Stanley, which may not seem like a big deal, but there are some huge underwriting fees that the bank that runs the IPO will get to cash in on. In January 2011, Goldman Sachs was in charge of the $1.5 billion private Facebook shares offering. Because of their past work with Facebook, Goldman Sachs also has a foot in the door for orchestrating the Wednesday sale.
Whether Goldman Sachs makes the cut for being in charge of the IPO or not, they already bought less than one percent of Facebook for $450 million. Meaning: the company will be making some money during the IPO.
One of the big indicators that Facebook might be making its public move on Wednesday comes from the activity of private, secondary share selling. The company SecondMarket halted Facebook share trading on Wednesday, which indicates to market analysts that Facebook will be going public soon.
In 2011, there were a ton of tech IPOs from big name companies – LinkedIn, Pandora, Groupon and Zynga. But, everyone agrees that Facebook has been the big fish in the pond that everyone was waiting for. Facebook has over 800 million members and reportedly, over 500 million users log in on the website every day. Mark Zuckerberg, current CEO of Facebook, has become one of the richest people on the planet in the 8 short years since the social network’s inception, and all at the age of 27.
To Zuckerberg’s credit, he knew ahead of time the heights that his company would reach. In 2006, Yahoo offered $1 billion for the company and the Harvard grad declined. Although he’s always wanted to keep his company private, the Security and Exchange Commissions (SEC) rule that the company is fast approaching seems to have changed his mind.
The ruling states that private companies with more than 500 shareholders and more than $10 million in assets must publish financial results every quarter for the public. This is the same rule that prompted Google to go public in 2004, even though it had only been around for six short years.
Most companies decide to go public when approaching this milestone because the requirements about publishing their financials become so similar to those of a public company anyway; they figure they might as well make some money. Enforcement of the new rule happens in April, so it seems that Facebook is trying to go public before having to comply.
Facebook hasn’t been holding out in non-compliance while the SEC has made its decisions. The company has been slowly delivering financial reports about various aspects of their business, which has been more successful than most people imagined. For example, the company has a profit margin of nearly thirty percent, which is much higher than even the most generous estimates.
Many credit Zuckerberg for keeping the company private for so long. Building up a successful company and also building the demand to jump on board the IPO isn’t always easy, but it seems as though people are clambering for a chance to be a part of the historic IPO.
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