Social networking giant Facebook could be valued as highly as $95bn (£58.6bn) in its initial public offering (IPO), it has been reported.
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The price range of $28 (£17) to $35 (£21) per share was disclosed in a regulatory filing, which would make its IPO the biggest on record for an internet company.
Facebook’s shareholders could raise up to $13.58bn (£8.3bn) if the IPO comes in at the high end, which would see underwriters sell extra stock reserved for over-allotments.
Search engine firm Google raised $1.9bn (£1.2bn) with its initial offering in 2004, including stock reserved for over-allotments. Google’s IPO valued the business at $23bn (£14.2bn), while the company is now worth approximately $200bn (£123bn).
Facebook has more than 900 million users around the world and is the largest online social network. There has been a great deal of hype about how much money it could raise due to the large figures involved and its substantial membership.
Social media expert Kate Bussmann, who is the author of A Twitter Year: 365 Days In 140 Characters, said the big question is how Facebook goes about making more money from its members.
“Facebook is a really unique creature,” said Bussmann. “It’s approaching one billion subscribers, which is extraordinary considering it didn’t exist a decade ago.
“It’s the social network which has had the biggest influence on society and how people interact. You can see why shareholders are willing to pay, but how they will monetise it is the big question. Yes, we will see more changes as it goes on, although some people still don’t like the adverts, they are there.”
Bussmann said Facebook was likely to introduce more new features to link it to other prominent corporate websites.
“There will be tweaks and they may change the format and people will get stroppy about it.
“While they’ve also introduced a new listen button for music pages, which is treading on MySpace’s old territory. You can connect it to Pinterest and Spotify and there are all those open apps like Spotify which do status updates every time someone listens to something.
“These are tools that are designed to foster closer relationships with other corporates and we will see more of this.”
Facebook will now look to talk to potential investors about why they should invest their money in the company’s stock. The social network is expected to price on May 17 and will be available to the public on May 18.
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