Facebook could launch its public stock offering in the first quarter of 2012, and that the value of the Facebook could go over $100 billion. That's a massive number for a company that launched about just 8 1/2 years ago.
Early Monday, a Facebook spokesman declined to comment on the timing or details of an IPO. But at a conference late last month, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg called a Facebook IPO "inevitable," describing it as "the next thing that happens."
Facebook, which has indicated that it expects to cross the 500-investor threshold this year, would probably want to launch a formal IPO in advance of a public-company reporting obligation that would kick in next April, say people familiar with the matter, making a Q1 offering a likelihood.
Another factor motivating the likely new issue, say the people familiar with the matter, is the desire to increase employee compensation. Early last year, Facebook put curbs on employees' ability to sell their company shares privately to other investors-a move that may now be prompting employees to quit Facebook in order to be able to monetize their shares.
Were the company to go public, however, employees would be able to sell their stock on the open market at various times during the year, allowing them to cash in on their holdings.
People have been waiting for Facebook to make its public stock offering for some time as number of related companies have either filed for their IPO or actually launched.