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Facebook equity offer closed to US investors

$1.5bn deal goes 'offshore'

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Goldman Sachs now says it will only offer Facebook equity to investors outside the US as the firm is apparently worried about scrutiny from regulators.

Goldman recently acquired a $450m stake in the still-private social-networking giant, and it began offering equity to clients willing to invest at least $2m. But as reported by The Wall Street Journal, Goldman has now decided not include US-based investors due to the "intense media attention" surrounding the deal.

In statement sent to The Journal, Goldman said that "the level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a US private placement under US law." But it also said its decision to include only "offshore" investors was not "required or requested by any other party," including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the Journal, one Goldman client was told that the US investors were excluded because of regulatory concerns.

Famously, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are doing their best to delay an IPO in an effort to maintain control of the company. The company says it will not go public until next year – at the earliest.

According to a report citing documents distributed by Goldman Sachs, Facebook pulled in $1.2bn in revenue over the first nine months of 2010. and net income reached $355m. Goldman values Facebook at $50bn, and it's offering as much as $1.5bn in Facebook equity.

A Journal source says that Goldman has received over $7bn in orders for Facebook shares. So even without US investors, it will likely meet that $1.5bn figure. ®

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