Next week Facebook may file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering (IPO) of sock that will value The Center of the Internet at between $75 billion and $100 billion. The social website is expected to generate around $10 billion from the public offering.
Unnamed sources close to the matter claim that the IPO documents may be filed as early as Wednesday, or possibly filed a few weeks later, allowing consumers to purchase a piece of the social networking pie. Right now Facebook is close to signing on investment bank Morgan Stanley as the lead underwriter for its IPO, cutting hopeful Goldman Sachs Group out of the picture.
Launching as a publicly traded company will propel Facebook up into the top ranks of the largest public companies in the world including Amazon, Bank of America and McDonald's. A $10 billion offering would also put it fourth among U.S.-based companies, falling behind Visa, General Motors and AT&T Wireless. The launch would even dwarf Google's $23 billion market value when it offered an IPO back in 2004 -- the search engine giant is now worth $184 billion.
The unnamed sources, which spoke with the Wall Street Journal, said that Facebook's final valuation will be determined by a variety of factors. These include investor demand for social media, the health of the European economy and the IPO market.
"The IPO will test Mr. Zuckerberg's ability to manage a global company whose financial performance will be scrutinized every three months by investors," the paper reports. "Facebook also still faces questions about its commitment to its users' privacy, an issue that had dogged it since its earliest days."
Once the initial paper is filed, Facebook's public stock offering will likely take three to four months to become available. Naturally Facebook would not acknowledge the IPO report.
"Our position on this is that we don’t participate in IPO-related speculation," a representative stated.
UPDATE: The New York Post reports that Facebook has chosen a stock symbol, and it's... take a wild guess... FB!