Facebook plans to raise $10.6 billion in mega IPO

Thu May 3, 2012 7:01pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic and Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc aims to raise about $10.6 billion in Silicon Valley's largest IPO, dwarfing the coming-out parties of tech companies like Google Inc and granting the world's largest social network a market value close to Amazon.com's.

The eight-year-old social network that began as Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room project indicated an initial public offering price range of between $28 and $35 a share on Thursday, which would value the company at $77 billion to $96 billion.

The valuation reflects the company's growth and bullish expectations about its money-making potential as a hub for everything from advertising to commerce.

"We certainly haven't ever seen a tech IPO on this grandiose a scale," said Lise Buyer, a principal with the IPO advisory firm Class V Group.

Buyer, who worked on Google's 2004 IPO, said the question about a company "that's already this big and that is raising this much money is how many of the glory days of growth are in the past versus how many are ahead."

Facebook stands to raise as much as $12 billion at the upper end of its planned range. If an over-allotment or "greenshoe" option is triggered, the company could sweep up a maximum of $13.6 billion, according to a Thursday prospectus.

Facebook is only getting about half, or $5.6 billion, of the estimated $10.6 billion that it would raise at the midpoint of its planned IPO range. About $4.9 billon will go to some existing shareholders.

The offering's price range can be adjusted depending on Wall Street's response.   Continued...

 
Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox delivers a keynote address at Facebook's "fMC" global event for marketers in New York City in this February 29, 2012 file photograph.REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files