Social networking giant Facebook has raised the price range for its initial public offering to $34 to $38 a share, up from its earlier price range of $28 and $35 per share.
The company expects to raise almost to $13 billion with the sale of 337.4 million shares, according to a regulatory filing made public on Tuesday.
In what is expected to be the largest ever IPO for a technology company, Facebook is seeking a market valuation of $104.2 billion. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is on a roadshow mustering support from investors for the company's offering.
The pricing puts the social network on track to become the most valuable Internet company in the U.S. at the time of an IPO, exceeding Google Inc.'s (GOOG) $24 billion valuation in 2004. Google had raised about $1.67 billion in the IPO.
Facebook has been flooded with orders and is said to stop taking orders today, two days ahead of its schedule close. The offering is said to have been oversubscribed, though the scale of oversubscription is not yet known.
The company' shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "FB" on May 18.
Menlo Park, California-based Facebook revealed in an amended form S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it is offering 180.0 million Class A common shares and the selling shareholders, including Dustin Moskovitz, Accel Partners, Digital Sky Technologies, are offering about 157.42 million Class A common shares.
The company and the selling stockholders have also granted the underwriters the right to purchase up to an additional 50.6 million shares of Class A common stock to cover over-allotments.
Facebook mastermind Zuckerberg will maintain a firm grip on the company even after the IPO, holding or having the ability to control about 57.3 percent of the voting power of its outstanding capital stock. However, he will now face scrutiny from investors looking for big return on the faith in the profitability of the social network.
The Facebook IPO has been long awaited event since the hugely successful offering from online professional networking site Linkedln Corp. (LNKD) a year ago. The LinkedIn IPO ushered in a new era of internet and social media companies floating on the stock market.
There were a slew of internet companies that made their successful debut on Wall Street after Linkedln, including Zynga Inc. and Groupon Inc., Pandora Media Inc., Renren Inc. and Zillow, Inc.
Facebook was launched in February 2004 by Zuckerberg, along with Havard mates Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin. It soon touched the one-million mark in users by December 2004, 100 million users in August 2008 and 500 million users by July 2010.
Facebook has about 900 million global users currently, with about 500 million of them logging in every day. Its growth has had a waning influence on businesses of established companies such as Google, Inc. (GOOG) and Yahoo, Inc. (YHOO).
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by RTT Staff Writer
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