Facebook shares break $45 for first time since 2012 IPO

Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:01pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic and Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares of Facebook Inc rose more than 3 percent to a new high Wednesday, valuing the world's No. 1 social network at $106 billion, as investors focused on its recent mobile advertising advances and the potential to expand ad revenue into new areas.

The stock touched $45 at 1:50 p.m. ET and briefly hit $45.07 shortly after 2 p.m. on the Nasdaq - highs not seen since May 18, 2012, the day of Facebook's initial public offering. It closed at $45.04.

The stock's new intraday high is the latest milestone in a remarkable recovery following a rocky Wall Street debut, in which traded at half its $38 offering price at one point.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at a technology conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, said the IPO process had made Facebook stronger by forcing it to better understand the various facets of its business.

"Having gone through what I think most people would characterize as an extremely turbulent first year as a public company, I can tell you I actually don't think it's that bad," said Zuckerberg, noting that his fears of employee defections and low morale due to the slumping stock price were overblown.

Zuckerberg, 29, who co-founded Facebook in a Harvard dorm room, also said he had rethought his previous view that staying privately held for as long as possible was the best strategy.

"In retrospect, I was too afraid of going public," Zuckerberg said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

Zuckerberg did not discuss future video ad products or plans to make money from its Instagram unit. The mobile photo app, acquired in 2012 by Facebook, is popular with young people but does not carry any advertising.   Continued...

 
The loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud