Will Facebook Reach $200 Billion Value By 2015?

Could Facebook quadruple in value by the middle of the decade? If Facebook is pulling in $27 billion annually by then, definitely!

Could Facebook quadruple in value by the middle of the decade? If Facebook is pulling in $27 billion annually by then, definitely!

Lou Kerner, social media analyst at Wedbush securities, told Bloomberg TV that Facebook’s value could reach at least $200 billion by 2015 based on the projected growth of the Internet advertising market and the pace of the social network’s escalation in private auctions on SecondMarket.

He said that the Internet advertising market may hit $110 billion in 2015 and that Facebook would have one out of every five page views that year. That would yield $22 billion in ad revenues for the social network. Add to that his estimate of another $5 billion in revenues from Facebook Credits that year.

Kerner then assumes the company will have a profit margin of 40 percent that year, which would net $13 billion. He multiplies that by 16, which we know refers to the price-earnings ratio, and that’s how he arrives at $200 billion.

That would make Facebook one of the world’s biggest companies by 2015. It would be ubiquitous, like broadband, as Kerner says. Imagine the Connect log-on appearing on every website and then the ubiquity makes sense.

If anything, a price-earnings ratio of 16 might be modest, especially if the company goes public. However, any modesty in that multiple would offset what seems like an awfully bullish estimation of Facebook’s profit margin for 2015.

One interesting caveat that we heard in the Bloomberg TV interview but our friends at Business Insider didn’t pick up on: The anchorperson said that Facebook has a $55 billion value in private market auctions, and Kerner didn’t refute that number on the air.

That figure comes in higher than the $52.1 billion that we’d heard was the value of Facebook in the most recently closed auction on SecondMarket. Kerner could well have access to the details of the current round of bidding that hasn’t closed yet.

TV interviewers usually do a preliminary interview before the one that goes on the air, and the Bloomberg anchor probably read that $55 billion figure from a teleprompter. This particular cable news channel doesn’t have the kinds of improvisational slips of the tongues that you see on other stations.

Of course, the $55 billion could also be an estimate based on the pace of the bidding in the previous auction on SecondMarket.

Readers, do you see that as a hint that perhaps the latest auction of Facebook stakes on SecondMarket will close with a $55 billion? More importantly, Do you feel the projected value of $200 billion by 2015 is far-fetched, realistic or understated?