Facebook IPO In 2011?
The biggest IPO story since Google will continue to leave investors wondering. While the Facebook IPO will happen, there are still no imminent plans with founder Zuckerberg saying “we’re definitely in no rush”, according to a WSJ article today. He makes a good point in that the company is in the envious position of not requiring massive capital to build factories or even market the product, so the same motivations for going public quickly aren’t there. Adding to the delay may be the fact that Zuckerberg, as the WSJ points out, is a micro manager who may be having a tough time relinquishing some control of the company of which he owns 25% of and controls voting power.
However, an IPO will take place as investors and shareholders have been promised and the company has been taking measures to prepare for it. In 2008, the executive team was expanded highlighted by the hiring of Google exec Sheryl Sandberg and adding Netscape founder Marc Andreessen to the board. Of course, the rumors, speculation and predictions are flying and many think the company will go public next year with a market cap of nearly $40 billion based on the current revenue number and applying a multiple similar to that of Google. The company apparently was cash flow positive last year and believes revenue could reach $2 billion this year.
In the meantime, Zuckerberg found a way to ease the growing impatience of its employees for a big pay day ahead of an IPO. Last year, $100 million in shares were sold to Russian firm Digital Sky Technology which also invested another $200 million giving them a 3.5% stake in the company without increasing the shareholder base. Just an appetizer of what will likely be a rain of cash for Facebook employees.