Facebook and Wall Street: It's Complicated

Facebook filed for its initial public offering yesterday. The internet behemoth could be valued between $75 billion and $100 billion, making its IPO one of the biggest stock-market debuts in U.S. history and netting founder Mark Zuckerburg up to $28 billion. While Facebook is a company defined by its users, the company decided not to follow Google's example of holding a dutch auction. Instead, shares are likely to be offered to clients only on Wall Street. Morgan Stanley won the lead underwriter position in a close race against Goldman Sachs, which Bloomberg Businessweek characterized as "having to choose between a leech and a tick for a medicinal bloodletting." Although a Wall Street-brokered deal is nearly guaranteed to reap big rewards for investors, critics don't see the move as lining up with Facebook's egalitarian image. “I’ve always interpreted their values to be about openness and transparency, and there is nothing less transparent than having five bankers set the price of your IPO,” said one tech CEO to Bloomberg. However, users can expect that going public will mean more changes and new products for the social-networking site, which is already reporting an 88 percent increase in revenue from last year.

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