Report: Investment banks compete for lead role in Facebook IPO


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Top Wall Street investment banks are competing to be the lead bankers for Facebook’s blockbuster initial public offering, which could come in early 2012.

That’s according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which also says that the Menlo Park, Calif., company held a new round of meetings with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley after Thanksgiving.


The paper reported last week that Facebook would take the stock public in the second quarter of 2012. The IPO could peg the worth of Facebook at $100 billion or more and could generate as much as $10 billion. That would give bankers a 2.2% cut, or as much as $220 million. But Facebook may negotiate lower fees.

Goldman Sachs mishandled a private placement deal earlier this year and had to limit the offering to investors outside of the U.S. Morgan Stanley recently was the lead banker in the Zynga IPO, but its shares have mostly traded below the offering price.

Representatives for Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Facebook declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal. ‘As is our typical practice, we just don’t get into speculation about an IPO,’ a Facebook spokesman told me.

The Facebook IPO is widely anticipated. Facebook board member Peter Thiel said last year that Facebook would consider going public in 2012.

‘It’s a consumer-facing company, which makes it very interesting to people. People can relate to it,’ Thiel told the Los Angeles Times in an interview last year. ‘It’s somewhat of a unique thing. There is a lot of intensity surrounding it.’



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-- Jessica Guynn