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Facebook looking at spring 2012 IPO

zuckerberg via LA Times

It started off as will-it won’t-it speculation and has since developed into a when-exactly-will-it guessing game.

Facebook’s possible initial public offering (IPO) has been the subject of much discussion in recent years with co-founder Mark Zuckerberg saying earlier this month that an IPO was possible “at some point” but that it was important “to build this company so that it’s great over the long term.” All very vague, then.

A Wall Street Journal report published Monday, however, claims that according to “people familiar with the matter,” executives at the social networking giant are now eyeing dates between April 2012 and June 2012 for an IPO.

Facebook is reportedly talking with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding a possible flotation on the stock market and could even file papers before the year’s out, although “the date for a filing with the SEC is still in flux,” the sources told the WSJ.

The company is currently thinking it may be able to raise as much as $10 billion, which could value Zuckerberg’s company at over $100 billion. If things went Facebook’s way, it would be the biggest IPO by an Internet company since Google raised $1.7 billion when it went public in 2004.

However, spring 2012 is some time away, and much can change in that time. Indeed, the WSJ’s sources said that the financial figures regarding any IPO “will largely be determined by the market and the European economy.”

No doubt the financial team at Facebook will also be keeping an eye on the last big Internet company to go public, daily deals site Groupon, which did so earlier this month. It raised $700 million in the process though last week saw its share value fall below its launch price of $20. At the time of writing, the shares are worth only $15.24 each. LinkedIn, which went public in May, has also been having a hard time of it on the stock market of late. 

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