Facebook has set May 18 for its initial public offering (IPO) of stock, to be preceded by an 11-day road show for potential investors, the Wall Street Journal reported May 1.
Facebook said in its Feb. 1 filing with the Security & Exchange Commision that it intends to trade its shares under the ticker symbol "FB." Morgan Stanley will lead the IPO, with Goldman Sachs assisting. Facebook will trade on the tech-dominated NASDAQ exchange, and some analysts have predicted that the starting sale price will be in the $90 to $150 range.
The social-networking giant will hit the road starting May 7 to talk to investors. The Journal said its sources indicated that CEO Mark Zuckerberg would make appearances at some of the investor events. Facebook filed its application with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its public stock offering on Feb. 1. The IPO is expected to raise from $5 billion to $10 billion and value the company at up to $100 billion, according to the published opinions of numerous Wall Street analysts.
When the stock is issued on May 18, Facebook will represent the largest market debut for a U.S. company in nearly four years. In comparison with another prominent IT company, Google banked $1.7 billion in its Aug. 19, 2004, IPO. In the history of U.S. business, Visa, General Motors and AT&T Wireless are the only companies to have IPOs totaling more than $10 billion.
In the publicly available S-1 SEC document, Facebook revealed a number of business metrics, including that it banked revenue of $3.7 billion (up 47 percent from 2010) with net income of $1 billion in calendar year 2011. The social network also revealed that it services an average of 845 million users every month, with more than half that number using it daily and about the same number accessing the network via a mobile device.