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Facebook's $104 bn IPO is among the world's largest

Last updated on: May 18, 2012 11:25 IST

Facebook's $104 bn IPO is among the world's largest

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Yoshita Singh in New York

Facebook made history by launching one of the largest initial public offerings for a technology firm, aiming to raise $16 billion that pegs the value of the world's most popular social networking site at $104 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook put up 421 million shares of its common stock up for sale late yesterday at a price to the public of $38 per share, the company said in a statement.

The shares would begin trading on the NASDAQ exchange on Thursday under the symbol 'FB'.

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Image: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg fist bumps a student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters
Tags: NASDAQ , IPO

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In addition, Facebook and the selling stockholders have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 63,185,042 additional shares of Class A common stock to cover over-allotments, if any, it added.

The over-allotment could see Facebook raising a total of $18.4 billion.

Zuckerberg is expected to ring the opening bell at Nasdaq remotely from Facebook's California headquarters.  

Welcoming the IPO, the company is holding an overnight 'hackathon' where engineers stay up all night writing programming code to come up with new features for the site.

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Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks through Facebook headquarters.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

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The public offer is expected to close on May 22.

Facebook roped in financial giants like Morgan Stanley, J P Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank Securities to serve as book runners for the offering.

At $16 billion, the size of Facebook's IPO is the third largest for a US company, with the largest being the Visa IPO, which raised $17.9 billion in 2008, according to Renaissance Capital.

For a company that began in a Harvard dorm eight years ago, the IPO will bring a windfall which will give it the financial muscle to develop more services and features and employ the best in the business.

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Image: An illustration picture shows a woman looking at the Facebook website on a computer in Munich.
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters

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Zuckerberg is selling about 30 million of his shares, but will still remain Facebook's largest shareholder.

He will own 503.6 million shares, or 32 per cent of Facebook's total shares after the IPO, with his stake in the company worth $19.1 billion, going by the $38 stock price.

He will control the company with 56 per cent of its voting stock.

Zuckerberg, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday, has created a place for himself in the pantheon of Silicon Valley wizards who changed the way people use technology.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was among Zuckerberg's mentors.

In Facebook's meteoric rise since it was founded in 2004, Zuckerberg's public persona took a hit as his friends from Harvard claimed he stole their idea of a social network that

let people share everything from their photos to their thoughts online.

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Image: Zuckerberg's desk.
Photographs: Reuters

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Facebook was the subject of a Hollywood movie that went on to win three Academy Awards last year.            

At a market value of $104 billion, Facebook would be among the most valuable US firms, ahead of giants like Amazon which is valued at $98 billion and Cisco $89 billion.

It would however still be behind Google ($203 billion) and Apple ($495 billion).

The Facebook IPO will also make several of its employees millionaires if not billionaires.

California estimates that it could get $2 billion from the taxes that Facebook's newly minted millionaires will owe to the state.

Facebook's IPO had been closely followed in the media as well as by corporate America.

The company conducted roadshows in major cities like New York, Chicago and Boston, with Zuckerberg's hoodie and casual dressing styling also grabbing headlines.


Image: Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox.
Photographs: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

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