Facebook Goes Public, Finally
May 18, 2012

Facebook Goes Public, Finally

Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com

Well, it´s finally happened. Facebook is now a publicly traded company. At the time of this writing, shares of FB are going for around $40. At opening, Facebook shares were valued at $38 and are expected to earn the social media giant $18.4 billion.

According to CNBC, an estimated 82 million shares were traded in the first 30 seconds, a testament to the high-levels of anticipation that has been building up over the past few months. After FB´s first 7 minutes of trading, more than 110 million shares had been traded, reaching a high of $45 and a low of $39 during that time frame.

When Facebook launched at $38, it became ranked as the 36th company in the world, right in front of French petroleum company Total, according to CBS News.  It also became the 23rd largest US company as measured by stock market value.

Trading for FB started a little late after experiencing a 30 minute delay, as a rush of initial investors and the volume of IPO shares caused some problems for Nasdaq. Quoting for the stock began at 10:45 ET, and trading began at 11:30 ET.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the opening bell honors this morning, reporting remotely from the Menlo Park, CA headquarters. 28 year-old Zuckerberg stands to gain more than $19 billion from today´s IPO.

Despite all the initial excitement for today´s IPO – or perhaps because of it – not many small investors will be able to buy FB at $38. After the large investors get their take, the private investors will likely end up paying the higher market order price. According to the Wall Street Journal, one trading firm had a client willing to pay $4,000 for a single share of FB.

Facebook went on a road show in the weeks leading up to today´s IPO, impressing some investors with their pushes into mobile and shocking others with Zuckerberg´s iconic hoodies. On May 15th, Facebook was able to close the books on their IPO, 2 days before scheduled. Some had estimated today´s IPO wouldn´t have happened until June, as Facebook´s $1 billion purchase of Instagram has yet to be cleared by the SEC.

Facebook announced their intent to purchase popular photo-sharing app Instagram last month, signifying a new push into mobile strategies. Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reaching out to Google and Twitter as they investigate the purchase. Such an investigation is said to be routine whenever such a large acquisition is made.

If the FTC blocks the deal, however, Facebook has agreed to pay Instagram $200 million in cash.

Last year, Facebook managed to pocket $1 billion in profit from $3.7 billion in sales. At 900 million users, the social media giant is trying to find new ways to earn more money from each individual. Currently, Facebook claims to make $5.11 from each user. Google, on the other hand, claims to make $30 per.

Looking to get your hands on some Facebook stock on your own?

In a piece from PC World, writer Ed Oswald lays out the different ways to buy stock yourself. Oswald suggests finding a reputable trading firm, such as E-Trade or AmeriTrade to avoid being scammed or ripped off. Furthermore, you can use sites such as Sharebuilder.com to buy a single share if you only want a small piece of memorabilia instead of a huge investment.