30. January 2012–
Facebook looks set to become one of the biggest public companies in the world if it begins its expected stock market flotation this week. Insider reports have stated that the social network will begin the process to become a publicly listed company on Wednesday, and put the value of Mark Zuckerberg's business in the region of $100bn.
The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times have both cited unnamed insiders as stating that the company could begin the process of IPO (Initial Public Offering) this week, which would make Facebook one of the biggest public companies in the world, alongside McDonalds and Amazon.com. Official spokespeople from Facebook has refused to confirm or deny these reports.
The flotation is expected to raise $10bn – eclipsing Google's $1.67bn flotation in 2004, which put the company's worth at $116bn – Google is now thought to be worth in the region of $190bn.
Facebook issued a statement in January 2011 stating that it "expected to pass 500 shareholders at some point in 2011, and therefore expects to start filing public financial reports no later than April 30, 2012".
In the US, a company must file this information if it has over $9.7billion worth of assets and/or 500 shareholders.
The social network was founded by 27-year-old Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University in 2004, and now has more than 800 million users. This development would make Zuckerberg, who has a 25 per cent share in the company, a multi-billionaire.