Today, Friday, May 18, is the much awaited — much hyped, depending on your perspective — day on which Facebook is due to make its initial public offering and become a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq.
What started as an idea among four Harvard students is set, under the aegis of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to become one of the largest offerings ever, over and above that of Google and other tech companies.
Tempering the excitement is uncertainty about Facebook’s future profitability, especially regarding advertising and its business model, not to mention ongoing questions about privacy and users’ data, and what Facebook does with that data.
Facebook employees have been pulling an all-night hackathon and the word from CNET is that Zuckerberg, rather than traveling to Wall Street to ring the Nasdaq bell, will be in Hacker Square at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters to sound a ceremonial bell at 6:30 am PST (i.e., 9:30 am EST).
A few things to know about Facebook and the IPO.
Shares of Facebook stock are to go sale for $38, meaning that the initial valuation of the 8-year-old social networking company is $104 billion, meaning that it will be worth about the same as Amazon.com and more than Disney.
If you’d like to buy a share of Facebook, it will actually cost you more than $38 due to service fees charged by various websites, not to mention the price of a frame should you wish (as many people do, notes the Los Angeles Times) to give it as a graduation gift rather than hang it on your wall.
421.2 million Facebook shares valued at $38 each having sold on Thursday, Zuckerberg is now worth $19.1 billion and is therefore the 29th richest person in the world (after Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg).
To get an idea of what $104 billion can buy you: Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in 2004 to focus on Facebook, thereby saving his parents much in tuition money and making enough to pay now for 512,587 students to complete the four years of their Harvard education, notes Bloomberg.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Think about all the information you’ve inputed into Facebook, including photos and your most personal thoughts and anxieties in a status update here and there. For your data (your personal information), Bloomberg calculates that Facebook’s $104 billion valuation is enough to pay $115.43 to each of its 901 million users.
Not, of course, that anyone ought to expect to get a credit from Facebook in our Paypal accounts: it’s free, of course, to join and use Facebook, but it does have to make money and it is not your friend but a business — and, by the time you’re reading this, now enshrined as FB on the Nasdaq.
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