February 2, 2012
Facebook Files For IPO, Reports It Has 845 Million Users
After much anticipation, the world's largest social network finally filed for its initial public offering on Wednesday.
The company is seeking to raise $5 billion on Wall Street, and analysts put Facebook's valuation at between $75 billion and $100 billion.
"I think most people were figuring it could go out at up to $100 billion valuation, and they would float 5 to 10 percent of it, so that is right in the ballpark," Kevin Landis, chief investment officer of Firsthand Capital Management, told The Associated Press (AP). "You start out with a modest number. But gosh, you're living right if $5 billion is a modest number."
Facebook also updated its active user count, saying that it now has up to 845 million users on the world's largest social network.
About 483 million of those users use the site every day, and it generates about 2.7 billion likes and comments per day, reports Hayley Tsukayama of Washington Post/Bloomberg.
Facebook said in its paperwork that it is continuing to evaluate the possibility of entering into the China market.
China currently holds the most Internet users in the world, but its strict government laws about free speech have been a burden for social networks.
Beijing blocked Facebook and Twitter after blaming it for fanning social unrest in the northwestern region of Xinjiang in 2009.
However, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is hoping to crack the Chinese market again, which has over 500 million users.
While the Chinese market may seem like a far-fetched idea, some investors thought the same of the Facebook IPO.
"This filing implies Facebook is valued at $100 billion, which I think is too high," Karsten Weide, analyst with technology researcher IDC, told AP. "That's about 27 times more than their 2011 revenue. But even assuming they can double revenue this year, I think it's too high. It's reminiscent of the valuations for stocks in the Internet 1.0 days."
Some analysts said the hype will initially drive the stock price of Facebook up, only to eventually fall back down again.
“The pool of small investors is so big, I think it´s going to support the stock for a while,” Sam Hamadeh, founder and CEO of research company PrivCo, told MSNBC.
All in all, the site that holds 100 petabytes of user information and brings in billions a year has finally taken its next step into the investment world.
Image Caption: Zuckerberg at the 37th G8 summit in 2011. Credit: Guillaume Paumier/Wikimedia Commons (CC-by-3.0)
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