Facebook Officially Announces Funding

It's a done deal, literally. Facebook put out an official press release announcing its round of funding: $500 million in direct investment from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies and another $1 billion from the bank's clientele overseas.

Facebook finally put out a press release on PR Newswire officially setting the record straight on $1.5 billion in funding. The overseas clientele of Goldman Sachs bought $1 billion, and the bank plus Digital Sky Technologies together invested another $500 million.

The blogosphere will doubtlessly explode with posts about why and how the numbers seem to have changed from what was originally reported by The New York Times on January 2. I don’t think the size of the deal selling to Goldman’s clientele shrank from $1.5 billion to $1 billion because of U.S. investors got shut out of the deal, although that’s a clever idea.

I think the discrepancy more likely has to do with the nature of off-the-record scoops, like the one that started the media frenzy in the first place. Rarely do the early leaks of secrets ever turn out to be accurate. Don’t mistake this as dissing any of the previous coverage of $500 million in direct investment and $1.5 billion from Goldman clientele. Like the release says, Facebook chose to limit the overseas offering to $1 billion, after the bank offered the choice of a range from $375 million to $1.5 billion.

The release consists of one straightforward factual paragraph, a quote from Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman and then a set of four questions and answers about the deal — all of it appears below, except for the boilerplate at the tail end. The fact that this official statement came out today indicates that the deal has closed. Read on for the release:

Facebook Raises $1.5 Billion

Facebook Receives $1 Billion from Goldman Sachs Overseas Offering; Digital Sky Technologies and Goldman Sachs Also Recently Made $500 Million Direct Investment

Investment Values Facebook at $50 Billion

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Facebook today announced it has raised U.S.$1.5 billion at a valuation of approximately $50 billion.

The transaction consisted of two parts. Today, Goldman Sachs completed an oversubscribed offering to its non-U.S. clients in a fund that invested $1 billion in Facebook Class A common stock. In December, Digital Sky Technologies (DST), The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and funds managed by Goldman Sachs invested $500 million in Facebook Class A common stock at the same valuation.

“Our business continues to perform well, and we are pleased to be able to bolster our cash position with this new financing,” said David Ebersman, Facebook’s chief financial officer. “With this investment completed, we now have greater financial flexibility to explore whatever opportunities lie ahead.”

The investment generated a significant number of questions from interested parties and Facebook has addressed the most common ones below.

Why did Facebook raise this money?

DST and Goldman Sachs approached Facebook to express their interest in making an investment, and Facebook decided it was an attractive opportunity to bolster its cash reserves and increase its financial flexibility with limited dilution to existing shareholders.

Why did Facebook choose to raise $1 billion in the overseas offering?

Under the transaction’s terms, Facebook had the option to accept between $375 million and $1.5 billion from the Goldman Sachs overseas offering, at the discretion of Facebook. While the offering was oversubscribed, Facebook made a business decision to limit the offering to $1 billion.

What are Facebook’s plans for the proceeds of this transaction?

There are no immediate plans for these funds. Facebook will continue investing to build and expand its operations.

Does this investment mean that Facebook will have more than 500 shareholders?

Even before the investment from Goldman Sachs, Facebook had expected to pass 500 shareholders at some point in 2011, and therefore expects to start filing public financial reports no later than April 30, 2012.

It’s great to see that the social network will indeed begin making financial disclosures to the public by the end of April; and the release doesn’t say anything about whether or when an initial public offering might happen.

Why do you think the total size of the transaction changed from the originally reported $1.5 billion coming from overseas clients of Goldman Sachs to the currently announced $1 billion?