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$100 a share for Facebook? Sign me up!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Facebook is going public. That sounds silly to say, considering the general public already tends to "buy" into whatever Facebook puts out, but now the general public will be able to buy into Facebook itself.

It won't be cheap, at least not in the mac and cheese sort of way. In fact, speaking of macaroni and cheese, Facebook is expected to have an initial public offering of $5 billion, which is the sixth largest in U.S. history, right ahead of Kraft Foods and right behind AT&T Wireless.

Overall, Facebook is expected to have a valuation of $100 billion, meaning founder Mark Zuckerberg's stock is worth more in billions than he is old. In other words, the 27-year old turned tinkering in his Harvard dorm room eight years ago into $28 billion for himself. As of November of 2011, he was the 14th richest American with $17.5 billion in assets, which ranked him 52nd internationally. (Not like you could tell by the T-shirts he wears.)

So, how much is it for a piece of the Facebook pie? It's expected to be at least $100 per share and to climb from there.

For reference, Apple started out at $22 per share on Dec. 12, 1980, and jumped about 30 percent to $29 per share by the end of the day, resulting in less than $100 million in profit. Google went public at $85 per share and climbed to $100 per share in a day, for a total market capitalization of $27.2 billion.

Of course, only time will tell which end of that spectrum Facebook ends up on, or if it redefines the spectrum single handedly.

Regardless, when Facebook goes public, it will make history in one way or another and that is a very good thing.

As referenced by entities such as StartupCity Des Moines -- and potentially StartupCity Spencer -- startups are all the rage right now. Even in this sluggish recovery, people are willing to stick their neck out and try something new.

Yes, different people have different motives for doing so.

Zuckerberg claims, "We don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services. ... Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected."

Whether you believe that quote 100 percent or not, it is clear even Zuckerberg is surprised by what Facebook has become.

At the same time, people across the world have been surprised by what Zuckerberg has become and they want to catch the same sort of lightning in a bottle.

This isn't an endorsement for those looking to get rich quick, but it is an encouragement for people who have an idea to make the world better -- and potentially make a few (million or billion?) bucks -- to go for it.

If you really expect to cash out, or if you already have, how about a loan?

This small-town journalist has Facebook stock to buy.

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I am very happy to hear about David Choe's prospective windfall not only because we artists have such a struggle but that it brings new stature to our quest. Like myself Mr. Choe reflects our times and attitudes. Well done Facebook and David Choe.

J Quillian

-- Posted by jqarts on Thu, Feb 2, 2012, at 1:50 PM

I would absolutely stay away from the FB IPO. Every other social media stock has been clobbered in its initial offering and since. Facebook is not worth $100-$125 per user. It doesn't "create" anything profitable except eyes for advertisers. This is important but not worth that much in my eyes. I don't think it's fair to compare it to google or apple. Those companies produce tangible products and visible content. Facebook is great but it creates nothing similar.

My prediction is an IPO that is down 10% or more the first two weeks. More than likely the current private stock holders will look to unload millions of their shares the first or second day and cash out, shorting demand and pushing down the price.

I could be wrong obviously, but I'm staying away. If you want to buy stocks, go long silver mining companies, gold and silver stocks, and pharmeceutical companies that produce generics of drugs soon to have their patents expire, and short financials by buying direxion bear 3x financials or FAZ. They're much smarter bets than Facebook.

As far as zuckerberg goes, he's right to point out using money to create value, not the other way around. It's simple capital reinvestment. But he's going to have to continuously and aggressively come up with ways to add value to advertisers-who are his real customers, not the users-and convince investors each user is seen as so highly valued by those advertisers. A $5 billion valuation is much too high from my perspective.

-- Posted by jlees on Thu, Feb 2, 2012, at 11:34 PM

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