The Wall Street Journal reports that the Facebook IPO is set now for May 18. Prior to that date Facebook executives will be on a roadshow selling the IPO to brokerages and institutional investors.
According to the Journal CEO Mark Zuckerberg ”will make some appearance on the roadshow, though he won’t attend all meetings.” The heavy lifting will be by COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman.
It will be a huge IPO, probably “oversubscribed.” Investors will be going out of their minds to get in on it (how long the stock is held is another question). Out of the gate the company will have a roughly $100 billion valuation.
However among tech journalists, selected financial analysts and professional contrarians there’s a Facebook backlash going on. Many are pointing to slowing Facebook growth and otherwise ticking off a list of “what might go wrong,” as Facebook seeks to justify its huge valuation and demonstrate growth.
What will be very interesting to watch is where that growth happens, and whether Facebook gets into search in earnest. We learned last week that some higher ups at Microsoft (though not Steve Ballmer) tried to shop Bing to Facebook, which politely declined. As an aside that raises all sorts of questions about Microsoft’s long-term commitment to search.
My view is that Facebook is compelled to get into search marketing — at least on its own site. It will also seek to much more aggressively monetize the traffic from its more than 500 million active mobile users.
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