Facebook has set the share
price for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) at between
$28 and $35 per share, valuing the company at between
The IPO is set to be the largest ever for an
internet firm, bigger than Google's valuation of $23bn in 2004.
IPOs are when companies list shares on the stock
market for the first time.
Facebook is set to list on the Nasdaq and would rival Amazon's
and Cisco System's current market values.
It is thought that Facebook will start promoting
the share offering on Monday. Its shares are expected to start
trading under the symbol "FB" on 18 May.
More than 10% of the business is being sold,
which is expected to raise about $12bn for the company.
The eight-year-old social network has 900 million
users worldwide and made a profit of $1bn last year.
There is expected to be a huge take-up, though
some investors have voiced concerns about the company's
Last week, Facebook reported its first drop in revenue between
quarters for two years.
But during a video presentation on Thursday
Facebook executives sought to allay those concerns, pointing to
mobile as an area for growth that the company will invest
Facebook said it would buy the fast-growing mobile phone photo
sharing app Instagram for $1bn, its largest purchase ever.
The higher valuation still falls short of the
$100bn that had been talked about for Facebook.
But it is not uncommon for IPO price ranges to
move up if there is strong investor demand for the stock.
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark
Zuckerberg will remain in control of the company even after the
IPO, controlling more than 57.3% of the voting power through
shares he holds and through voting agreements with other
own 31.5% of Facebook's outstanding stock. At the top end of the
price range, this would make his holdings worth $17.6bn.
Such a value would put him at about number 33 on
Forbes' list of the world's richest people.