Facebook's perfect IPO timing
Experts say now is the ideal time for the social media giant to go public.
By Olivia Oran
Facebook is edging closer to its eagerly anticipated IPO, according to The Wall Street Journal, which says the social networking phenomenon may file its IPO documents on Wednesday. Experts say now is the perfect time for Facebook to start out on its IPO path.
"We expected them to file in the third to fourth week of January because they closed their prior quarter Dec. 31," said Sam Hamadeh, the CEO of research firm PrivCo. "Now they get a full 120 days runway to take off with the IPO without showing any other quarterly numbers and filing any amendments."
"All the stars are aligned," he added. "We predict that it'll trade before May 15, probably in late April or early May."
Citing an unnamed source, the Journal reports that Facebook may be looking at a valuation of $75 billion to $100 billion. Morgan Stanley (MS), it added, mat be close to winning the deal to become Facebook's lead underwriter, although Goldman Sachs (GS) may also play a major role.
Scott Sweet, a senior managing partner at IPO Boutique, predicts that Facebook will easily be the hottest IPO of 2012 and says that now is a great time for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take the company public. "It's just time for them," Sweet said. "They have brought in the best of management, (and) they are further monetizing their product."
Facebook's sales were estimated to be more than $4 billion last year.
Max Wolff, an analyst with GreenCrest Capital, estimates that Facebook's IPO could generate up to $150 million in banker fees.
"Facebook is obviously the IPO of the year, maybe the IPO of the decade, likely the largest IPO in dollar value in American history," he said. "The market is a pretty dim environment right now, but you have a very bright light coming in."
A Facebook IPO, however, would not necessarily encourage other tech companies to go public, according to Tom Fox, the head of global capital markets at UBS (UBS). "Facebook is so unique," he said in an IPO briefing with reporters last week. "It's so distinct, and it's so different that it won't provide a meaningful impact on other companies."
"Last year, there were always some major risks to Internet companies that came public," noted Ryan Jacob, the chief investment officer of Jacob Internet Fund. "They were lackluster and disappointing. In this case, for Facebook the only major risk is execution. When that's you're biggest risk, it points to an enviable position."
Facebook has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story.
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