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Facebook is expected to launch on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol "FB," and for now, its bankers are expecting the social-networking behemoth to carry a valuation of $90 billion to $95 billion, according to a report from PrivCo.
IPO enthusiasts and investors have been frothing at the mouth for months, even years, over a potential Facebook IPO. And according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Friday, it appears Facebook may file its IPO as early as Wednesday.
Lending even greater credence to the WSJ report was a PrivCo report and Bloomberg article earlier in the week that said trading in Facebook shares on the secondary markets were halted on Jan. 25 and would remain shut down through at least Jan. 27. PrivCo, which supplies financial data on privately held companies, noted that secondary trading is often halted ahead of a company's IPO filing.
Facebook's secondary-market investors include folks like Facebook employees, former employees, and private investors. They are allowed to trade their shares on the secondary market even though Facebook has not launched its IPO.
PrivCo says it's hearing that Facebook's initial pricing range will be $38 to $40 a share and that the company wants to keep its valuation just under $100 billion, says Sam Hamadeh, PrivCo CEO.
By pricing the IPO a little cheaper than what investors may be willing to pay, the goal is to provide a little "pop" to the stock once it begins trading, Hamadeh explained.
Meanwhile, Facebook is eyeing the New York Stock Exchange to launch its IPO, in part because it believes it is mature enough as a company based on its revenues and profits to run with the blue-blood blue chips, Hamadeh says. He also notes tjat PrivCo has heard Facebook's ticker will be a coveted two-letter ticker -- "FB."
"A one-letter ticker is reserved for the bluest of the blue chips. But Ford already had "F," Hamadeh said. "A four-digit ticker is the least coveted."
Facebook's IPO debut is likely to outshine that of other recent IPOs, like, hmmm, Groupon's (Nasdaq: GRPN ) four-letter ticker listing, GRPN. Since its market debut in November, Groupon has seen its shares sink below their $20 IPO price. Ouch. But optimism around Facebook could lift all boats in the social-media space. Groupon popped 2.6% on Friday after reports of a Facebook listing filtered out, while LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD ) jumped a whopping 5.9% in late trading.
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