updated 06:38 pm EDT, Thu May 17, 2012
Social network gets largest tech IPO on record
Facebook sold 421.2 million shares at $38 each today, Bloomberg reports, raising $16 billion in the largest initial public offering by a technology company in history. The offering caps a storied past few weeks that saw representatives from the social network attempting to build investor confidence, even as reports emerged from other sectors that could well have undercut confidence in the company.
Facebook's $16 billion payday is several times that of Google's $1.9 billion IPO in 2004. Google's shares were offered at $85 apiece, for a total market value of about $23 billion. The higher end of Facebook's planned IPO range had the company valued at more than $104 billion. For comparison, Google is currently worth more than $200 billion.
Facebook's most recent financial statements had the company pulling in more than $4 billion in revenue in the 12 months through March 31. The social network has attracted more than 900 million users, and projects $6.1 billion in sales in 2012. Facebook's statements also revealed slowing in both user base growth and revenue growth, which the company attributes to the network having achieved a degree of market saturation.
The run-up to the IPO saw a number of negative reports for the social network, including GM dropping its paid ads on the site and a poll suggesting that a sizable majority of users on the site never click on its paid ads. To spur growth, Facebook's executives plan to turn the social network more toward mobile advertising. The network is also testing paid post promotion as a means of increasing revenues.