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Report: Facebook delays IPO until late 2012

Facebook is reportedly putting off its initial public offering until late 2012.

Citing people familiar with the company, the Financial Times reported Wednesday that Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wants employees to focus on developing products for the world’s most popular social networking site rather than on collecting an IPO payout.

These people said Facebook was not postponing the IPO because of turbulent market conditions, which have discouraged other Internet companies such as Groupon and Zynga. In all, there are more than 200 companies in the IPO pipeline, which has come to a standstill as companies wait for the markets to settle.

Facebook spokesman Larry Yu said in an emailed statement: “As is our typical practice, we just don’t get into speculation about an IPO.”

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Scott Sweet, managing director of research firm IPOBoutique.com, said Facebook’s is one of the most highly anticipated IPOs.

“When they file this, there will be pandemonium, absolute pandemonium, whether they do it in April, May, June or tomorrow,” Sweet said.

Facebook has become the “it” company for investors who have pushed its valuation to roughly $80 billion in the private markets. 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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Driving that intensity is the moneymaking potential of the site, which boasts more than 750 million users. The company has raised nearly $1 billion without tapping the public markets, and that has created pent-up demand from investors similar to the frenzy surrounding the 2004 initial public offering of Google Inc.

jessica.guynn@latimes.com


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