Facebook is expected to list itself on the New York stock exchange, or Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol ‘FB’.
It comes as the value of the social networking site is expected to be declared at $100bn today.
In Facebook’s regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook Inc. indicated it hopes to raise $5bn in its initial public offering (IPO) – a new record for a technology company, surpassing Google’s $1.9billion IPO in 2004.
It’s a remarkable fortune for Facebook, which founder Mark Zuckerberg, who still controls the company, admitted in submitted paperwork, “was not originally created to be a company”.
He added he still uses “The Hacker Way” to guide its development.
Facebook has 845million active users, and half of them typically visit the site on any given day.
However, the site has only penetrated 60 per cent of the US and UK market. It is most popular in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela.
Facebook’s filing reveals China, where Facebook is currently banned, is the next big target.
Despite is limited market penetration, Facebook still managed to make $668million in profit last year, out of total revenue of $3.7billion.
Advertising accounted for 85 per cent of that revenue, but that was less than in previous years thanks to the success of games company Zynga, which contributed 12 per cent of Facebook’s revenue through royalties.
Zuckerberg, despite owning no more than a quarter of shares, will control 57 per cent of votes even after the sale of shares to the public.
When the company is handed over to shareholders, Zuckerberg’s salary, $500,000 in 2011, is set to drop to just $1 next year.
His overall wealth, however, has been estimated at $17.5billion.
Facebook is also concerned about the popularity of Facebook apps for smartphones, as these do not carry advertising.
Zuckerberg wrote in a letter: “Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries.
“At Facebook, we’re inspired by technologies that have revolutionised how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television — by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society.
“Today, our society has reached another tipping point. We live at a moment when the majority of people in the world have access to the internet or mobile phones — the raw tools necessary to start sharing what they’re thinking, feeling and doing with whomever they want.”
Facebook’s 3000 employees are already hatching plans on spending their potential new wealth.
The money will trickle down to engineers, salespeople and other staffers who later joined the company, since most employees receive salary plus some kind of equity-based compensation.
“There’s been discussions of sort of bucket list ideas that people are putting together of things they always wanted to do and now we’ll be able to do it,” said one ex-employee who joined in 2005.
Among them are space trips and expeditions to Mexico.