Facebook to Raise $5 Billion in Biggest Ever Internet IPO

February 1, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Facebook Expected To File For IPO
A sign with the 'like' symbol stands in front of the Facebook headquarters on Feb. 1 in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook filed for its first initial public offering (IPO) Wednesday seeking to raise around $5 billion. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Social-networking giant Facebook Inc. on Wednesday filed for an initial public offering (IPO), which could value the company at up to $100 billion.

Eight years after launching the site from his Harvard University dorm room, 27-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken Facebook from an innocuous social website to the most anticipated technology IPO since Google in 2004.

The IPO should raise around $5 billion and value Zuckerberg’s stake at as much as $28 billion.

The company, which has been tight-lipped regarding its financials in the past, has opened its books to prospective shareholders in a filing on Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2011, Facebook recorded $3.7 billion in revenues—and 88 percent increase from 2010—and $1 billion in profits. The bulk of its income comes from Web advertising. It also has more than 800 million users and more than 480 million active users globally.

“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter to prospective investors. “We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”

Since its inception, Facebook has become the world’s most successful social network, dwarfing early competitors MySpace and Friendster.

After Zuckerberg, Accel Partners has an 11.4 percent stake in the firm in voting power, the SEC filing states. Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder, has the third biggest stake.

Professional social networking site LinkedIn Corp. went public last year and was one of the most successful IPOs of 2011, which should bode well for Facebook.