Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with 901 million monthly users worldwide, and roughly 200 million in the United States, or two-thirds of the population. Created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg in his dorm room at Harvard, Facebook grew from being a quirky site for college students into a popular platform that is used to sell cars and movies, win over voters in presidential elections and organize protest movements. It offers advertisers a global platform, with the exception of China, where Facebook does not operate.
Facebook took its first step toward becoming a publicly traded company in February 2012, when it filed to sell shares on the stock market. The service is on track to be the largest Internet initial public offering ever — trumping Google ’s in 2004 or Netscape’s nearly a decade before that. In its filing, Facebook said it was seeking to raise $5 billion.
The company is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq, under ticker “FB,” on May 17 or May 18.
Facebook’s I.P.O.: Beginning a New Chapter
If all goes well, Facebook will go public in an I.P.O. that could value it as high as $104 billion. One hundred four billion dollars — for a company that, eight years ago, didn’t even exist.
Facebook’s I.P.O. will begin a new chapter — indeed, a new volume — in one of the great business narratives of our time. It will also make Mr. Zuckerberg almost impossibly rich. In an instant, his stake could be worth upward of $18.7 billion.