Facebook to hold off on IPO until late 2012: FT

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Facebook intends delaying its long-awaited IPO until late 2012, according to the Financial Times.

The newspaper, citing people “familiar with the company” says the public debut will be later than the April 2012 date many are expecting.

Facebook’s IPO is expected to be one of the world’s biggest, following recent private share sales which saw the company valued at more than US$66.5-billion.

The newspaper’s sources believe that Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is deliberately holding the company from going public so that employees will be remain focused on product development instead of a payout.

A number of tech companies have recently delayed their initial public offerings because of volatility on the stock markets. FT sources, however, insist that Facebook’s decision to delay was because of internal interests.

The paper quotes Lise Buyer, a consultant who advised Google through its IPO.

“There’s really no reason to rush a deal,” she said. “The company doesn’t need the money. It is a little easier to focus when you’re private. They’ll go when they’re good and ready, not before.”

“There are so many things you don’t have to do until you take public shareholder money,” she added. “You don’t have to take investor phone calls or show up at investor conferences.”

When it was first announced that Facebook was likely to go public in 2012, CNBC said that the valuation was likely to be higher than US$100-billion.

When Goldman Sachs became an investor in January, it pushed Facebook past the 500 shareholders mark. According to Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, this means that Facebook will have to publish its financial results by the first quarter of 2012.

While no company is obliged to go public after it releases its financial results, many do so in order to capitalise on market interest and momentum.

Zuckerberg has repeatedly stated that he is in no hurry to take the world’s largest social network public.

Facebook has been widely expected to follow the likes of professional social network LinkedIn, whose own share value doubled in its first day of trading.

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