Facebook announced today that it would halt trading of its secondary shares today in a move that analysts say means the company’s IPO is coming soon rather than later. The hotly anticipated initial offering of the social media company was predicted to be arriving this April or May and the halt in trading today points to that happening. The company runs the world’s largest social network with hundreds of millions of users. It is one of the most popular sites on the internet and one of the most searched. The company’s IPO will be white hot when it finally comes around. Today’s halt means that day may come sooner rather than later.
The company delayed its IPO for several years obtaining investment from private financiers in order to fund its expansion. The company resisted the urge to go public despite huge valuations from analysts. The last time such a report came out the company was worth an estimated $100 billion. The company’s revenue in 2011 came in at $3.1 billion mostly from advertising. The company’s key problem at the moment relate to how much revenue it can actually accrue from its business. Users spend billions of minutes per day on the site and Facebook’s ability to turn the knowledge and level of user engagement they control into revenue is still a question.
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When the IPO comes through it looks likely that there will be 1000 new millionaires at Menlo Park and around the world. Employees have benefited from generous stock options and awards and their valuations will be very high come the company’s IPO. One exciting result of this may be the foundation of hundreds of innovative start ups. The capital accrued by the employees and the experience gained from their work at Facebook should drive them to some interesting projects we’ll expect to see in the coming years. The phrase “former facebook engineer” is one that will appear ubiquitously in news of tech innovation in the coming years.
In case you’re getting ready just yet today’s move does not necessarily have anything to do with the IPO and may not be an indication of it at all. Facebook has halted trading of its secondaries in the past and the IPO did not happen in the past. That halt was called because the company was changing its administrative structure. Despite this the IPO has been hailed as coming soon and this move does support that thesis. One thing is certain if you are exposed to any sort of media consistently you will not miss the announcement. Everybody will be covering the news as it breaks.