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Facebook tagged with $60bn valuation

Price soars as social network mulls $1bn staff share sale

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Facebook is considering allowing its staff to sell up to $1bn of their shares to institutional investors, after the company got slapped with a $60bn valuation.

According to All Things Digital, which cites sources close to the situation, Facebook's estimated valuation rocketed another $10bn yesterday.

Brokerage Goldman Sachs had previously tagged a $50bn price tag on the Mark Zuckerberg-run social network, after some of its wealthy clients pumped $1.5bn into an investment round for the firm.

Privately held Facebook recently went on record to say it would seek an initial public offering (IPO) no later than the end of April 2012.

The company keeps a short leash on its current employees regarding selling their shares in the business on private exchanges. In 2009 it offloaded $100m of common shares from its staff in a deal with Russian investment outfit Digital Sky Technologies.

In early January, it was reported that Facebook pulled in $1.2bn in revenue over the first nine months of 2010. The company's net income during the first nine months of last year was said to have reached $355 million.

However, until Facebook – which has more than 500 million users worldwide – goes public, its actual earnings remain private and investors can't freely scrutinise how well the finances, or indeed the $60bn valuation, will hold up. ®

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