Facebook's Zuckerberg kicks off investor show in NY

Mon May 7, 2012 6:44pm EDT
 
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By Nadia Damouni and Olivia Oran

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg fielded questions about the No. 1 social network's slowing revenue growth and its $1 billion purchase of Instagram as he kicked off a cross-country roadshow to promote the company's $10 billion initial public offering.

Wearing his trademark "hoodie" sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, the 27-year-old chief executive said he would do the Instagram deal again if he had to, according to attendees at the event.

Hundreds of investors showed up for the presentation at New York's Sheraton Hotel, which was closed to the media, on Monday.

The world's largest social network aims to raise about $10.6 billion, dwarfing the coming-out parties of tech companies like Google Inc and granting it a market value close to Amazon.com Inc's.

The 8-year-old social network that began as Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room project indicated an IPO range of $28 to $35 a share on Thursday, which would value the company at $77 billion to $96 billion.

The size of the IPO reflects the company's growth and bullish expectations about its money-making potential as a hub for everything from advertising to commerce. Many investors say they expect Facebook to raise its offer price-range as the roadshow progresses from New York to major cities such as Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.

Amid the hoopla of one of the most closely watched IPOs in years are persistent concerns about Facebook's longer-term growth and Zuckerberg's majority control.

Zuckerberg, who will have roughly 57 percent voting control after the IPO, personally forged the deal to acquire mobile app maker Instagram in a matter of days last month with little involvement from Facebook's board of directors, according to media reports.   Continued...

 
Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is escorted by security guards as he departs New York City's Sheraton Hotel May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz