The IPO Buzz Around Facebook

Photo: Craig Ruttle/AP

When it comes to a Facebook IPO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told audience members at a Web 2.0 Summit chat “don’t hold your breath,” according to an AFP story. Though a Bloomberg Businessweek story suggested the company could be highly valued were it to IPO, Zuckerberg says his team “is busy building Facebook into a hub for the kinds of online social sharing that promises to infuse and transform all types of industries.”

The Bloomberg story points out that Facebook is now the third-largest US Internet business behind Amazon and Google. It gives Amazon’s value as $74.4 billion and Google’s as $192.9 billion. Forrester Research’s Augie Ray comments on why Facebook’s valuation is so high: “It has in fairly short order — just a couple of years — gone from being a very niche site to one where the majority of Americans spend a great deal of their online time.”

In September, Reuters quoted board member Peter Thiel saying the company would likely go public “sometime after late 2012.” He said potential IPO timing would be tied to business model and revenue target goals. “It probably will IPO at some point. The lesson from Google seems to be that you don’t go public until very late.”