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Facebook preps for public showtime with $100bn price tag

Reports suggest huge IPO is imminent

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It's difficult not to mention Google in the same breath as Facebook these days – and that's especially true when one considers the initial public offering the dominant social network is reportedly planning later this week.

According to Bloomberg, which cites two anonymous sources familiar with the plans, Facebook's much-anticipated IPO filing could be landing within the next few days.

And the company is betting big on its flotation by mulling over a valuation of $75bn to $100bn.

It was reported in November last year that Facebook was looking to raise up to $10bn in the offering.

The network, which has 800 million users worldwide, halted trading of its shares on secondary markets for three days last week. As noted by Bloomberg, this move does not necessarily indicate that the IPO filing was about to rock up.

However, such trading is sometimes suspended by companies ahead of an IPO offering to stop investors exchanging shares until all of the details about the filing are in the public domain. A short break in trading could also have allowed private outfits to work out how many shareholders they have.

As The Register has previously reported, Mark Zuckerberg's firm confirmed in January 2011 that it planned to begin filing financial reports "no later than" the end of April this year.

A year ago, the company said it had raised $1.5bn courtesy of the Vampire Squid Goldman Sachs and serial Web2.0 investor Digital Sky Technologies.

Amazingly enough, given that the social network doesn't manufacture any goods such as Cisco (worth around $115bn) or stacks an array of products high and sells them pretty low like Tesco (valued at roughly $55bn), it's highly plausible that Facebook has drummed up a further $8.5bn since then to drop on to the IPO offering pile.

For context, in 2004 Google's initial public offering was given a $1.9bn leg-up and was valued at $23bn on its Wall Street debut. The rest, as they say, was history...

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who admits completely "screwing up" with MySpace when he owned the once popular social network, is less convinced about such a flotation, however.

"Facebook a brilliant achievement, but $75-100bn? Would make Apple look really cheap," he said. ®

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