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Mark Zuckerberg & Co are said to be readying itself for the stock market as rumours about an impending float go into overdrive.

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The Initial Public Offering (IPO), which will be the most talked about in history, could see The Social Network receive a $10 billion boost, making Zuckerberg and his employees very wealthy individuals.

Mark Zuckerberg’s baby is thought to be selling a 10% share of the company, which may raise as much as $10 billion and push the total value of the company to a startling $100bn.

The Wall Street Journal, who interviewed both Zuckerberg and his right hand woman, COO Sheryl Sandberg, believe the IPO will happen in May next.

If this date is correct, it means Facebook must file company papers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission within the next month.

Zuckerberg has previously voiced caution, almost bordering on indifference to going public, probably due to fears of how being controlled by investors may alter Facebook’s corporate culture and objectives.

In short, Zuckerberg appears more concerned about perfecting Facebook than making tonnes of money, although he knows one is inextricably linked with the other.

“The thing to take away isn’t that we don’t care [about business]. People for years were asking me why aren’t we trying to make more money,” Facebook CEO told WSJ, last week, singing the same tune as last year.

“I would say I’m trying to build a business for the long term, and it was clearly the right strategy.”

“Honestly, it’s not something I spend a lot of time on a day-to-day basis thinking about now,” Zuckerberg told CNN’s Charlie Rose in November. 

Remaining coy over the billion dollar issue, he added: “at some point we’re going to make that equity worth something publicly and liquidly, in a liquid way.The promise isn’t that we’re going to do it on any kind of short-term time horizon.” 

But as 2012 gets into full swing, the IPO must now be firmly on the “to do” agenda for the social network kings.

The 27 year old Facebook founder could be in for windfall of $24 billion, previous reports have suggested – making him wealthier than Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

 

Brunwick Group, a UK based PR firm, are said to be taking care of the listing, while Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are said to be the consultant favourites for running the deal.

 “All eyes will be fixated” on Zuckerberg and Facebook, Michael A. Greeley, from Flybridge Capital Partners told the Boston Globe.

The floatation won’t just affect Silicon Valley but may be as important as the Euro debt debacle and could set the tone for 2012, he believes.

“That expected IPO, and the state of the European economy, could set the tone for the entire year.”

And let’s put the $10bn figure in to perspective – the total combined worth raised by all of the 52 initial public offerings in 2011 was US$36bn, meaning the amount Facebook may raise alone would account just under 30% of this total value for the year.

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