Facebook's Valuation Skyrockets To $41 Billion

Facebook now ranks as the third largest web company, with a estimated valuation greater than EBay, based on trades of over $16 per share on SecondMarket.com.

Facebook now ranks as the third largest web company, with a estimated valuation greater than EBay, based on trades of over $16 per share on SecondMarket.com.

Based on recent private-market transactions, Facebook has a total estimated value of $41 billion, exceeding eBay’s $39.4 billion in market capitalization. The only two web companies worth more than Facebook are Amazon, at $74.4 billion and Google, Inc., at $192.9 billion.

Today’s value of Facebook comes from an “off-the-record” conversation that Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Brian Womack had with someone who had access to recent transaction data on SecondMarket.com. The online marketplace for trading stakes in privately-held companies doesn’t post these specifics on webpages that the public can access.

Now if Facebook were trading on an exchange that the public could access, the size of the company’s total market capitalization might increase over the course of the trading day — depending on the exact details that Mark Zuckerberg announces at today’s 10 am PST press conference. Check out how eBay’s stock has performed on the days of major announcements, and the possibility of a 24-hour growth spurt becomes very possible.

That opens the question of whether today’s expected announcement of an email service that would compete with Gmail might influence Facebook’s decision on whether and when to file for an initial public offering. Market analysts concur that an IPO is still several years away, as does Bloomberg’s Womack.

Readers, what effect will today’s announcement have on Facebook’s total value, in your opinion? other than email or office productivity software? When do you think the company should go public?