New York: The Internet social network, Facebook filed for a much-anticipated stock offering Wednesday that put a dollar figure on the world’s addiction to sharing, commenting and evaluating life with their online friends and family.
That means anyone with the right amount of cash will be able to own part of a Silicon Valley icon that quickly transformed from dorm-room startup to cultural touchstone.
In its regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook Inc. indicated it hopes to raise $5 billion in its initial public offering (IPO). That would be the most ever for an Internet IPO, easily surpassing Google Inc. and its early backers raised $1.9 billion in 2004. The final amount will likely change as Facebook’s bankers gauge the investor demand.
The IPO will also mint hundreds of Facebook employee as millionaires because they have accumulated stock at lower prices than what the shares are liked to be valued at on the open market. Facebook employed 3,200 people at the end of last year.
The documents show, as expected, that Facebook is thriving. The company earned $668 million on revenue of $3.7 billion last year, according to the filing. Both figures nearly doubled from 2010.
To make money, Facebook sells the promise of highly targeted advertisements based on the information its users share, including interests, hobbies, private thoughts and relationships.
Last year, Facebook made about $3.2 billion in advertising revenue, which accounted for 85 percent of its total revenue figure. The rest came from what it calls “payments and other fees,” namely the app payments. Zynga alone accounted for 12 percent of Facebook’s revenue in 2011.
Zuckerberg has made it clear he isn’t especially keen on leading a public company. He has said many times that he prefers to focus on developing Facebook’s products and growing the site’s user base, rather than trying to hit quarterly earnings targets in an effort to keep investors happy.
“Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries,” he wrote.
Zuckerberg also pledged to stay true to Facebook’s scrappy roots even on the road to becoming a multinational corporation.