1. Computing
Leslie Walker

It's Facebook Official: IPO's a Go

By February 1, 2012

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Facebook, the company devoted to making the world "more open and connected," finally opened its financials to the world today when it filed for an initial public stock offering.

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Facebook made a profit of $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenue during 2011, an increase of 88 percent over its 2010 revenue, according to paperwork it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For a full analysis of the 198-page document, read this summary of the Facebook IPO stock S-1 registration statement.

Facebook was incorporated in 2004 has been profitable since 2009. It took longer than expected to file to go public, which requires that it disclose its revenue and expenses in detail for the first time. The Wall Street Journal said the IPO could be one of the biggest U.S. public stock launches ever and could value Facebook at nearly $100 billion.

Facebook's IPO filing provided other interesting numbers, such as:

  • It had 845 million visitors in December 2011
  • Users upload 250 million photos each day
  • Users make 2.7 billion comments or likes each day
  • Users have made 100 billion friend connections on Facebook
  • Facebook had 56 patents in the U.S. and 33 outside the U.S. at the end of 2011

The regulatory filing with the SEC also required Facebook to disclose what it sees as risks and challenges to its business. Among them:

  • Difficulty making money from mobile users
  • Competition from Google+
  • hacker attacks
  • Difficulty entering the Chinese market
  • Government regulations, such as privacy rules

Facebook's public stock sale is likely to take place in May, though the exact date and price of its shares have yet to be determined.

Facebook's IPO follows a wave of social media stock offerings that took place in 2011 and led to a social media investment craze. As a result, social media IPOs were one of the biggest social media business stories of 2011.

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