Facebook filed papers yesterday for what is expected to be the biggest IPO ever, valuing the company at up to $100 billion , after Americans had been chewing their nails all day long.
Bankers will reap many millions from the deal with Morgan Stanley as lead underwriter and Goldman and several other firms also taking part.
The IPO is expected to create between 500 and 1,000 millionaires among Facebook employees who have been granted company stock
Analysts, investors and Facebook fans were reportedly up at 3 a.m., desperate to see what Facebook was saying in the papers - "all the financial information and other data the Menlo Park social network has kept close to the vest for years," said local paper the San Jose Mercury News.
The wait went on… and on,… and on.
It was at first thought Facebook would file the initial IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission as early as 3 a.m. Pacific time. Reporters checking the SEC's database of regulatory filings found nothing as the day went on.
Then came news of the filing. The amount the company hopes to raise was given as $5 billion - half what was expected but experts said this was likely to go up.
Facebook's public debut is almost certain to put it ahead of Google 's 2004 offering, which has held the record for the largest U.S. Internet IPO by raising $1.9 billion and valuing the company at $23 billion. Facebook is expected to be valued at from $75 billion to $100 billion. That would make it more valuable than , Caterpillar, Kraft Foods, Goldman Sachs and the Ford Moto company.
The social network was started by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, 27, in 2004 out of his Harvard University dorm room. It now has 849 million members round the world and is expected to hit a billion shortly.
Zuckerberg had been reluctant to push forward with an IPO. In early 2010, he told The Wall Street Journal was in "no rush" for Facebook to go public.