Normally, before a company will start an initial public offering (IPO) they will go into a dark room and lock themselves in for a very long time. This is prevent statements intended to influence potential investors and valuation changes, as it is difficult for investors to hit a moving target. Facebook's rumored IPO felt like it was going to happen any time now but then the company went ahead and purchased Instagram for $1 billion and then right after that spent $550 million on patents from Microsoft. You'd think they would have to take some time after these major purchases and restructure their offering.
Not Facebook. Reports have been flying all over the Internet this week that the company might be starting its rounds to investors as early as next week and will be scheduling their IPO around May 16th.
Even after Groupon's IPO and seeing that while cash may end up in your pocket up front that it won't sustain, Facebook is primed to give it their go and the IPO is expected to be the largest stock market debut in history. Right now, the social giant is preparing its final paperwork in order to start presenting to the big investors like pension, hedge and mutual funds.
CNBC has reported that Facebook is "logistically ready" to hand in their documents to the SEC, who is said to be "looking favorably" at them.
It is looking very much like Monday is when Facebook will hit the road, and they will probably start with a meeting at Morgan Stanley - their lead underwriter - sometime mid-morning, midday to introduce that sales force their offering. They will then fan out for about 10 days... and they could start trading as early as May 16 or 17.
COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman will end up taking charge in marketing the IPO with The Zuck taking a smaller, backseat part in the whole ordeal. The company might even make as much as $10 billion in this offering, which may value the company at $100 billion. This should tell you that history is repeating itself and the days of the "dot-com bust" will probably be back upon us soon, with things like this and the Twitter cash injection craze.
Am I crazy to want no part of this, even if I had the money? There are several other Internet start-ups and well established businesses that one could invest in and be guaranteed to make a pretty hefty return at this point. It's okay though, because I have been informed of the new feature to Facebook almost 1 billion active users: organ donation commitment via the social network. Perfect.