Facebook could file papers for its IPO, or initial public offering of company stock, as early as next Wednesday. This according to the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Facebook itself has not commented, nor have Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs, which have been vying to handle the offering. The Journal said Morgan Stanley was in the lead, and cautioned that the filing for the IPO may not come for a few weeks.
Jonathan Thaw of Facebook sent an email to ABC News: "Our position on this is that we don't participate in IPO-related speculation."
Reports before today said Facebook would likely be valued at $75-100 billion.
"If it comes to pass, this will be the largest tech IPO in history, yielding around $10 billion for the social network," wrote Chris Taylor of Mashable. "Google's 2005 IPO, as big a deal as it was, didn't even reach the $2 billion mark."
To put it blandly, an IPO would not be a surprise. It has been talked about for months. There is a secondary market for Facebook shares among the investors who have backed the company up to now, and it has been widely reported that trading in privately-held shares has been halted.
You know the story by now: Facebook began in 2004 with Mark Zuckerberg, then a student at Harvard, who joined with a couple of friends (some of them now ex-friends) to find a way for schoolmates to connect online. The idea caught on. Facebook now claims more than 800 million active users worldwide.