wsjFacebook Inc. could file papers for its initial public offering as early as this coming week, people familiar with the matter said, as anticipation mounts for what is likely to be one of the biggest debuts for a U.S. company.
The deal, seen as defining moment for the latest Web investing boom, could raise as much as $10 billion and value the social network between $75 billion and $100 billion, said people familiar with the matter. A valuation of $75 billion would be below earlier expectations.
The website, which in less than eight years has attracted more than 800 million members, has changed the way people across the globe communicate, from organizing political protests to sharing baby pictures.
Facebook could file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission as early as this coming Wednesday, said one person familiar with the matter. But that timing is just one scenario Facebook executives are considering, the person said. Executives are also considering filing a few weeks later, the person said.
People familiar with the matter have said the company is targeting an IPO sometime between April and June.
A $10 billion Facebook offering would rank fourth among IPOs for U.S. companies, behind Visa Inc., General Motors Co. and AT&T Wireless, according to Dealogic. It would rank Facebook as the biggest U.S. Internet offering ever, replacing Google Inc., which raised $1.9 billion in 2004 at a $23 billion valuation.
At a $100 billion valuation, Facebook would be worth about the same as McDonald's Corp. and nearly half of Google.
Facebook's revenue is driven by its advertising business, as big brands rush to the site to interact with consumers through display ads and fan pages. Facebook has been able to increase its world-wide advertising revenue from $738 million in 2009 to $3.8 billion in 2011, according to estimates from research firm eMarketer. It isn't known if Facebook is profitable.
I made some money with the VISA IPO a little while ago. I'm certainly going to buy in this time.