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Facebook files for $5 billion IPO as valuation looks set to soar past $100 billion

Facebook files for $5 billion IPO as valuation looks set to soar past $100 billion
Facebook's move towards its initial public offering (IPO) is underway and, eight years after the social network was formed in the dorms at Harvard, the company is looking to raise a total of $5 billion in funding.

It's an IPO that will rate as one of the largest ever in the technology sector, and could see the firm's total valuation topping $100 billion.

Userbase battle

Facebook is yet to reveal just what price shares will be issued at initially – the firm's most recent estimate pegging said figure at $29.73 - it does peg 2011 revenue at $3.7 billion, with operating income coming in at $1.75 billion and net income hitting $1 billion.

Other stats revealed in the firm's S-1 filing reveal the platform hit 845 million monthly active users in December – up from 800 million when such figures were last made public – while daily active users now top 483 million.

As such, some commentators are already speculating whether Zuckerberg – whose personal fortune could hit $28 billion by the end of the IPO – has left it too late to go public, with the social network heading toward saturation point.

Moving to mobile

Significant in this context is the news that Facebook's operations on mobile aren't yet delivering the goods in terms of revenue.

Half of the platform's monthly visitors – 425 million – dropped into the social network via a mobile device in December, and the launch of Facebook's HTML5-based app platform (previously dubbed Project Spartan) signified the company's intent in the sector.

Yet, Facebook's main revenue stream – ads – are yet to make a mark on mobile, meaning as more people shift away from the desktop browser-based version to check into the platform on portable devices, it will be harder to monetise them, at least at premium rates. 

More facts and figures can be found on the firm's S-1 form.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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