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Facebook IPO put off until late 2012: report

Facebook is putting off its highly-anticipated initial public offering until late 2012, according to The Financial Times.

The paper reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “wants to wait until next September or later in order to keep employees focused on product developments rather than a pay-out.”

While other internet companies, like Groupon and Zynga, have recently delayed their IPOs over market concerns, FT suggests that Facebook’s motivations are internal.

“There’s really no reason to rush a deal,” Lise Buyer, an consultant who advised Google through its IPO, said. “The company doesn’t need the money. It is a little easier to focus when you’re private. They’ll go when they’re good and ready, not before.”

SEC regulations say that once a company has over 500 shareholders, it must file public financial results in the first quarter of the following year. Facebook hit the 500 shareholder mark in January, so it has until April 2012 to file public numbers. According to FT, companies are not required to go public after filing public results, “but many do so in order to take advantage of market interest and momentum.”

According to Forbes, recent sales of private shares have valued Facebook at over $60 billion, and Reuters reported last week that the company had doubled revenues in the first half of 2011 to $1.6 billion. From Reuters:

Facebook has become one of the Web’s most visited destinations by people who spend hours on the site every month sharing photos and videos, and conversing with friends.

Facebook accounted for nearly one third of all Internet display advertisement impressions in the United States in June, more than the combined total of Yahoo, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Google and AOL Inc (AOL.N), according to analytics firm comScore.

In January, Facebook announced it had raised $1.5 billion from investors including Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies.

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