Business

Facebook kicks off pre-IPO road show in New York

Monday, May 07, 2012

Menlo Park's Facebook showed up at a New York hotel Monday morning to kick off its pre-IPO road show, the first opportunity for potential investors and brokers to meet top management and to ask them tough questions about the company, its plans, its financials and its future.

"It's a big deal," venture capitalist Dixon Doll said. "And people that go in at the IPO are definitely going to make money. Question is how much and how fast."

Facebook is expected to begin trading a week from Friday, May 18. The stock is expected to be priced between $28 and $35 per share, which would value the social network company up to $96 billion. The company has to sell itself to institutional investors who manage money for retirement and mutual funds.

"They're not going to have the same deep level of expertise about social media and about specific companies like Facebook and so there is a base level communication and education process that has to occur," Azul Systems CEO and co-founder Scott Sellers said.

Analysts say investor confidence in Facebook will also depend on whether it can someday operate in China and how it handles privacy concerns.

"That's an area where I think things could get a little bit confused after they become public while they try to sort out exactly how they're going to comply with sometimes ambiguous privacy laws of the different countries in which they operate," Doll said.

How many presentations are scheduled is not known over the next week or two. Also not known is whether Zuckerberg will be on hand for some or all of them. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is expected to be the principal face and voice of the company for these pre-IPO sessions.

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Tags:
facebook, stocks, IPO, mark zuckerberg, business, david louie
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