Wed, May 16, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Facebook raises opening stock price for IPO: reports

MEGALOMANIA:Just ahead of Facebook’s impending IPO, a poll showed half of Americans regard it as no more than a passing fad

AFP and AP, SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook has bumped up the price it planned to charge for shares at is stock market debut, giving the leading social network a value that could top US$100 billion, according to reports on Monday.

Facebook will price its initial public offering (IPO) from US$34 to US$38 per share instead of the US$28 to US$35 range indicated in paperwork filed earlier this month with US regulators, according to CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.

The raised IPO share price reflected confidence in demand for Facebook stock and gave the Menlo Park, California-based company a value between US$93 and US$104 billion.

At the higher end of the price range, Facebook would raise nearly US$15 billion through the stock sale, with a large chunk of the cash going to its early backers and employees compensated with stock.

Facebook was already assured of becoming the most valuable US Web company at the time of an IPO, topping Google’s US$23 billion valuation in 2004.

Facebook will trade under the symbol “FB” on the technology-heavy NASDAQ. Trading was expected to be launched on Friday, according to news reports.

Meanwhile, half of Americans think Facebook is a passing fad, according to the results of a new Associated Press-CNBC poll. And, in the run-up to the social network’s IPO, half of Americans also say the social network’s expected asking price is too high.

Just a third of those surveyed think the company’s expected value is appropriate, while 50 percent say it is too high. Those who invest in the stock market are more likely to see Facebook as overvalued, 58 percent said. About three in 10 investors say the expected value of shares is fair.

However, price worries would not necessarily stop would-be investors. Half the people surveyed say they think Facebook is a good bet, while 31 percent do not. The rest are not sure. Americans who invest in stocks roughly agree, although investors who are more “active” — those who have changed their holdings in the past month — are more negative. Nearly 40 percent say Facebook would not be a good investment.

The public overall is similarly divided on the company’s future. Just under half of adults (46 percent) predict a short timeline for Facebook, while 43 percent say it has staying power.

The Associated Press-CNBC Poll was conducted from May 3 to Monday last week by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and mobile telephone interviews with 1,004 adults across the US and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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