Facebook Inc will start trading today following a record initial public offering that valued the social network higher than almost every company in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
According to a statement yesterday, Facebook sold 421.2 million shares at $38 apiece to reach $16 billion, that valued the Menlo Park, California-based company at $104.2 billion, more than every S&P 500 member except Amazon.com Inc and Equity Residential.
With the valuation, Facebook, co-founded in 2004 by a then-teenage Mark Zuckerberg, becomes the largest company to go public in the US. Zuckerberg, 28 would now have to reward investors by squeezing more profit out of advertising according to analysts.
In less than a decade, Zuckerberg has steered Facebook as it evolved from a Harvard University dorm-room project into a social network with over 900 million users.
However, revenue growth is expeected to slow for a third year in a row, and advertising sales have failed to keep pace with user additions.
The Facebook stock, priced at the top end of the $34 to $38 a share range, is making its public debut at a valuation at around 26 times sales in the 12 months through 31 March.