The world's definitive online social network said Thursday that it raised $16 billion for itself and its early investors in an initial public stock offering that values Facebook at $104 billion. That's more than Amazon.com and other well-known companies such as Kraft, Walt Disney and McDonald's.
Facebook found more than enough friends. But if you're looking to become a stockholder in the world's largest social network it's going to cost you nearly $40 per share.
It's a big windfall for a company that began eight years ago with no way to make money.
Facebook priced its IPO at $38 per share on Thursday, at the top of expectations. Now, regular investors will have a chance to buy stock in Facebook for the first time. The stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market sometime Friday morning. The ticker symbol will be FB.
CNY based Certified Financial planner Dennis Hebert says we shouldn't all rush to buy in. "The general public, I have to tell them to exercise some caution," he said. "I would suggest they step back and wait. Don't get caught up in all the excitement. Let things settle in where the natural price will fall then if you want to get in on it, it will continue to grow if it's good."
Though Facebook creator, Zuckerberg is selling about 30 million shares, he will remain Facebook's largest shareholder. Even after the IPO, he will own 503.6 million shares, or 32 percent of Facebook's total shares. At the $38 share price, his stake in the company is worth $19.1 billion. Zuckerberg will control the company with 56 percent of its voting stock as a result of agreements he has with other shareholders who promise to vote his way.
The $38 share price is the price at which the investment banks arranging the offering will sell the stock to their clients. In an IPO, the banks buy the stock first from the company and the early investors and then sell to the public. If extra shares reserved to cover additional demand are sold as part of the transaction, Facebook and its early investors stand to reap as much as $18.4 billion.
The set-up helps to ensure that he and other executives keep control as the demands of Wall Street for short-term returns exert new pressures on the company.
True to form, Zuckerberg and Facebook's engineers are ringing in the IPO on their own terms. The company is holding an overnight "hackathon" Thursday, where engineers stay up writing programming code to come up with new features for the site. On Friday morning, Zuckerberg will ring the Nasdaq opening bell from Facebook's headquarters a continent away.