Facebook’s initial public offering has been one of the most hotly-anticipated in corporate history, and today it lived up to the hype, The Telegraph says.
The social network priced its flotation at $38 a share, valuing the company at $104bn (£65.8bn) – more than any other U.S. company has been worth on the day of its market debut.
The business, which was founded by 28-year old Mark Zuckerberg from his dorm room at Harvard University, raised more than $16bn in the process, marking the second biggest initial public offering there has even been. Only Visa’s was larger.
Shares in Facebook are expected to climb even higher when they begin trading on Nasdaq, under the FB ticker, as frenzied demand from investors outweighs concerns over the long-term prospects of the business.
Zuckerberg will mark the start of trading by ringing the stock exchange’s bell remotely from his California headquarters, where around a thousand Facebook staff are devoting the night to a “hackathon” – the sessions the social network runs when it wants to quickly develop a new product.
The record flotation came even as some of Facebook’s biggest and earliest investors made last-minute decisions to sell more shares in Thursday’s IPO, fuelling concerns over their faith in the long-term value of the business.
Peter Thiel, the Pay Pal founder who became Facebook’s first outside investor when he ploughed $500,000 into the fledgling business in 2004, had planned to sell 20pc of his stake in the IPO but upped that figure to 50pc at the eleventh hour.
Russian investor Yuri Milner’s investment vehicle, DST Global, was last night preparing to off-load 40pc of his stake, up from the 23pc it had already committed, whilst Goldman Sachs and Tiger Global Management were both preparing to sell as much as half of their shareholdings, up from 23pc and 7pc respectively.
Earlier this month, Facebook warned that a surge in the number of people accessing the social network on their mobiles could damage its long-term revenues, because it has not yet worked out how to monetize that usage effectively.