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This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
Facebook says it aims to raise five billion dollars through its first public sale of stock. That would be one of the biggest initial public offerings ever. And it would be much bigger than Google's first public stock sale in two thousand four. That IPO raised almost two billion dollars.
The world's biggest social media network filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February first. The documents are required before the company can launch an initial public offering. A date for the sale was not immediately announced.
Facebook has more than eight hundred million users around the world. It represents the second most visited website after Google. Now, experts say the social media company is in a position to become one of the world's most valuable Internet companies.
Stock expert Anupam Palit at Greencrest Capital says that among social media sites, Facebook is in a class by itself. "It's the biggest company in this space and we believe what makes it very unique from every other company that went public last year in this space is that it is very, very profitable."
Early estimates value the social network between seventy-five and one hundred billion dollars. That includes earlier investments by other companies. David Kirkpatrick wrote the book "The Facebook Effect." He says Facebook's IPO will be historic: "Will Facebook's IPO be the biggest IPO in American history? Probably not. But it will certainly be by far the biggest Internet or technology IPO we've ever seen."
The stock sale could also make twenty-seven-year-old Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg one of the world's youngest billionaires.
Investment companies are likely to be the first to buy the stock. Investment manager Jim O'Shaugnessy points out that the price of some IPO stocks fall not long after they first go on sale. Stock in LinkedIn, Groupon and Zynga dropped as much as twenty-five percent after going public. "Many IPOs come out being very, very overvalued because they get so hyped up and investors are so taken in by the story that they're willing to pay any amount just to be able to get into the stock. That generally translates to being very overvalued. So we generally tell investors that they should wait probably a good full year before they look at buying stock that was recently IPO'd."
There were similar questions eight years ago about Google. Today, Google is one of the world's most valuable technology companies.