The Wall Street Journal has just reported that Facebook may file for its long-awaited IPO as soon as this Wednesday, but notes that the “timing is still being discussed," according to an anonymous source. The article says that Facebook is eyeing a valuation between $75 and $100 billion as it raises up to $10 billion, which is in line with a previous WSJ report last November.
The article also reports that Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is currently the frontrunner to secure the top, “lead left” position in the filing, with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) playing a “significant role” as well. The news comes shortly after Facebook temporarily froze secondary trades on its shares, sparking speculation that the IPO filing may be imminent.
Facebook’s IPO has been the subject of constant debate and anticipation in the tech world for years now - though CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have long avoided committing to any kind of time-table for the company to go public. The long wait for the IPO has led many employees to turn to the secondary markets to sell some of their valuable shares and secure some liquidity.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview this past November between Charlie Rose, Zuckerberg and Sandberg, where they discuss the timing of Facebook’s public offering (you can full the full transcript here):
What’s the valuation today of Facebook?
So we’re a private company so we don’t really have a valuation.
So then why do you want to be a public company? Why do you even think about an IPO?
I actually think the biggest thing for us is that a big part of being a technology company is getting the best engineers and designers and talented people around the world. And one of the ways that you can do that is you compensate people with equity or options, right, so you get people who want to join the company, both for the mission, right, because they believe that Facebook is doing this awesome thing and they want to be a part of connecting everyone in the world, but also, if the company does well, then they get financially rewarded and can be set. And, you know, we’ve made this implicit promise to our investors and to our employees that by compensating them with equity and by giving them equity, that at some point we’re going to make that equity worth something publicly and liquidly, in a liquid way. Now, the promise isn’t that we’re going to do it on any kind of short-term time horizon. The promise is that we’re going to build this company so that it’s great over the long term, right. And that we’re always making these decisions for the long term, but at some point we’ll do that.
You’ll go when what? When will you decide?
When we’re ready.