Facebook plans to file the prospectus for its initial public offering on Wednesday, according to people briefed on the matter, finally kicking off one of the most anticipated stock sales of the social networking era.

The Internet giant plans to list a preliminary fund-raising goal of about $5 billion, one of these people said. Another cautioned that any such number was largely a placeholder for determining filing fees, and that the final amount could differ significantly. And the company could still decide to delay its filing.

Facebook is also expected to pick Morgan Stanley as the lead bank for the offering, putting it in the coveted “lead-left” position of the underwriters listing, these people said. Morgan Stanley had dueled with Goldman Sachs for the prestige that comes with leading Facebook’s market debut, though underwriter fees may be smaller than in a normal offering.

Read More: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/facebook-plans-to-file-5-billion-i-p-o-on-wednesday/