Facebook IPO could see Zuckerberg reward 800m users

Feb 1, 2012
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Facebook's much-rumored IPO isn't enough for the tech industry; they want social network founder Mark Zuckerberg to throw in some of that old razzle dazzle with a tidbit to loyal users. Widely expected to be announced later today, the IPO will supposedly see Facebook attempt to raise as much as $10bn, with big investors tipped to flock to the coveted stock. Unfortunately, your average IPO doesn't hold much room for small investors to get a foot in the door.

That's where Zuckerberg's offbeat attitude to Facebook's users is tipped to come in. Analysts suspect the unconventional CEO will make some provision for Facebook's 800m members - without whom, of course, he'd not have a business - to get in on the action, the Washington Post reports.

Exactly what that might look like is unclear, though according to one IPO expert it could be the introduction of a new type of floatation. "I’ve been hoping that Facebook would use this opportunity to try a new method to bring in retail investors" Ann Sherman, associate professor and IPO expert at DePaul University suggests, "a public offer where shares are set aside for only individual investors."

Meanwhile, what Facebook - already sitting on a considerably bank balance, even without floating stock - might do with as much as $100bn is unclear. Speculation ranges from the obvious, like enhancing existing Open Graph App partnerships, through possible, such as pushing out an official Facebook phone, to terminally tenuous, as with rumors the social site has ambitions to buy T-Mobile USA. We won't know for a while yet; even if the IPO is announced today, stock is unlikely to go on sale until the middle of the year.


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