Facebook could raise fifth largest IPO in history

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Will Facebook remain the undisputed leader in social forever?

Media and advertising is notoriously fickle business. Investors eager to get a slice of it, now have a perfect chance.

According to a regulatory filing in the United States, Facebook is offering about 337.4 million shares for $28 to $35 each, according to a regulatory filing in the United States. The shares wil trade under the ticker symbol FB. Facebook Inc.’s $11.8 billion initial public offering will put the social network among the highest-valued companies. The personal status of 27-year-old Mark Zuckerberg will elevate to one of the world’s richest men.

Facebook’s  founder, who began the service for Harvard classmates as a 19-year-old in his dorm room, built Facebook into the most popular social-networking site in the world, topping 900 million users last quarter.

The whole story about the Silicon Valley is hard-working, entrepreneurial tech geeks getting big payoffs.

Can Mark grow as quickly as his company has grown? And can Mark grow faster than his company has grown? Because, of course, that’s what a leader must do.

Facebook’s IPO would value the company at as much as $96 billion. It is offering 180 million of the shares, while existing owners such as Accel Partners and Digital Sky Technologies are offering 157.4 million shares, according to the filing. Zuckerberg is offering 30.2 million of his 533.8 million shares. The majority of his net proceeds will be used to pay taxes associated with exercising a stock option.

He may control about 57 percent of the voting power of Facebook’s outstanding capital stock after the offering, according to the filing.

Zuckerberg has shown patience in bringing Facebook to the brink of an IPO. After starting the company in 2004, he rolled it out to other college campuses, reaching 1 million users by the end of the year. Zuckerberg also received a key investment from Peter Thiel, who made much of his wealth as a co-founder of online-payments service PayPal, later sold to EBay Inc.

It wasn’t until 2006 that Zuckerberg opened up the service so anyone could join. Facebook accumulated 12 million users by the end of 2006.

Zuckerberg was able to woo other investors along the way to handle the growing user base. That included software company Microsoft, Accel and Russian investor Digital Sky.

Facebook, while preparing for the IPO, has remained active on other fronts. After being sued by Yahoo! Inc. in March for patent infringement, the company has been looking to buy intellectual property from other owners of it.

Facebook plans to spend $550 million on some of the patents Microsoft had earlier said it would purchase from AOL Inc.

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