Facebook has set a  target price for its 18 May launch on the Nasdaq stock market, which values the entire company at betetween $77 billion and $96 billion (up to £59bn).

The price, between $28 and $35 per share, could value Facebook at roughly double HP ($49.5bn) and in the same league as existing tech stocks, though falling just short of the round $100 billion figure that had been mooted. Facebook will be selling a small percentage of non-voting stock, raising perhaps $13 billion in actual money.

Secondary shareholders might lose

Surprisingly, some people might lose in the flotation. Some shares in Facebook have been available on “secondary  markets” where they have gone up to prices as high as $44. Owners of these shares are required to hang on to them for six months after flotation and are banking on prices going higher.

Mark Zuckerberg is selling 30 million shares, which should make him a cash billionaire.

The social giant’s road leading up to the proposed May IPO has been eventful to say the least. In addition to the $1 billion purchase of Instragram, the company has been forced to deal with patent litigation from the likes of Mitel and Yahoo, prompting a portfolio acquisition from IBM and subsequent countersuit against the latter company.

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Peter Judge

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

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