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Report: Facebook to file for entry to stock markets next week

The WSJ says Facebook will file on Wednesday – making billionaires of Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and … Bono?

Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg - considered the site's
Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg - considered the site's "adult supervision" - could become the world's richest self-made woman if Facebook does float on the stock exchange.
Image: Jean-christophe Bott/AP

THE WORLD’S LARGEST social networking site is set to make its debut on the stock markets in a few months, if reports this evening are accurate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is preparing to file paperwork for an Initial Public Offering this coming Wednesday, with Morgan Stanley likely to be the agent for the deal.

Entry to the stock markets has been long anticipated for Facebook, with many investors believing that a public filing was simply a matter of time.

It is expected that an entry into public ownership will make the site worth between $75 billion and $100 billion when it launches, and make an instant billionaire out of its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg owns 24 per cent of the company – meaning his wealth, which is only theoretical at present because there is no open market for Facebook shares, would come realised – and worth possibly up to $24 billion.

It would also mean that Sheryl Sandberg, the site’s COO, would become one of the world’s richest self-made women: thought to own between 1.25 and 2.5 per cent of the company, her stake could be worth up to $2.5 billion.

This would put her close to the wealth of the world’s richest woman, Oprah Winfrey, who Forbes says is worth $2.7 billion.

Even if Sandberg’s stake is at the smaller end, her wealth would match that of the second-wealthiest self-made woman on Earth, Harry Potter author JK Rowling who is thought to be worth around $1 billion.

The deal will also mean that U2 duo Bono and The Edge (real names Paul Hewson and David Evans) would probably become billionaires too: one of their investment vehicles, Elevation Partners, owns a 1.5 per cent stake in the site.

That stake would therefore be worth up to $1.5 billion – far more than the $210m they paid for their stake just over two years ago.

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Gavan Reilly

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