Facebook valued at $96 billion

By Robert Kirchgassner ,

Facebook has been valued for up to $96 billion after setting a price range for its initial public offering of $28-35 per share.

The IPO is expected later in May and could be the biggest yet, with up to $13.6 billion. Half of that would go to shareholders, including company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The previous record Internet IPO was Google, which was valued at $23 billion when it went public in 2004.

Facebook is also set to be valued on the same level as Amazon.com, which has a market capitalization of roughly $103 billion. Facebook had net income of $1 billion on revenues of $3.7 billion last year, in comparison to Amazon's income of $631 million on total sales of $48 billion.

"People are going to be very comfortable with this valuation," Sam Schwerin of Millennium Technology Value Partners said.

Facebook will also offer two classes of stock. Class A shares will be entitled to one vote, while Class B shares will each have 10.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg plans on selling 30.2 million shares of Class A common stock in order to pay taxes on a planned acquisition of 120 million more shares.

Facebook is also currently in an ongoing intellectual property battle with Yahoo over patents relating to aspects of social networking and online advertising.



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