Facebook IPO expected early 2012

Facebook is preparing to sell stock through an initial public offering (IPO) in 2012, according to a document published by the social networking company....

Facebook is preparing to sell stock through an initial public offering (IPO) in 2012, according to a document published by the social networking company.

The document revealed that the number of Facebook shareholders will increase above 500 this year, forcing the company to go public or disclose financial information, reported the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Facebook has raised $500m (£324m) of an anticipated $2bn (£1.3bn) funding from Goldman Sachs and other investors, valuing the social networking firm at $50bn (£32.4bn).

This gives Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a paper fortune of $12bn and puts the company's worth at more than Time Warner or Yahoo, and almost twice as much as Google at the time of its 2004 IPO, according to the Financial Times.

Bloomberg suggested Facebook's profits could amount to $1bn this year, which does not justify the $50bn market value.

In August last year, Facebook was valued at $33.7bn (£22bn) - which is higher than eBay and Yahoo. Investors were reported to be acquiring stakes in the social network while it was still private, in the hope that an IPO will boost share prices further.

The business social network, is also considering an IPO and floatation on the New York Stock Exchange ahead of Facebook.

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