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Ringing in the riches: The moment Mark Zuckerberg became $19 BILLION wealthier as he rang opening bell to launch IPO... and 100million Facebook shares were sold in under FIVE minutes

  • Share price could soar by as much as 50% on the first day of trading
  • 82million shares traded in first 30 seconds on market
  • Zuckerberg's stake is valued at $19.1billion
  • Critics have said $38 share price is too high - and it is FOUR times bigger than Google's $25bn when it launched as a public company in 2004
  • 420million shares will be available which could bring in as much as $16bn
  • Mr Zuckerberg rang the Nasdaq opening bell from Facebook HQ, flocked by dozens of his employees and COO Sheryl Sandberg
  • Began trading under 'FB' at $42 a share- 10% higher than expected


PUBLISHED: 14:51, 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 17:58, 18 May 2012

A staggering 82million Facebook shares were sold within the first 30 seconds of trading today as the social network giant launched on the stock market with a value of $104billion.

Mark Zuckerberg rang the morning bell at 9:30 EST from Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, to launch the second-largest IPO in U.S. history - and to instantly increase his personal wealth by as much as $20billion.

When trading began, shares were selling around 10 per cent higher than anticipated, around $42 per share, with 100million sold within the first five minutes.

But by noon, trading had leveled out to the expected $38.

Scroll down for video


Ringing in: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, remotely rank the morning bell from Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California; COO Sheryl Sandberg smiles as she watches


Happy moment: Zuckerberg signed a board at 6:30am local time at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, signifying Facebook's initial public offering


Face of a billionaire: Mark Zuckerberg grins after remotely ringing the Nasdaq's opening bell at the social network's headquarters


Status update: Shortly after ringing the morning bell, Zuckerberg added Nasdaq to his Timeline, listing several high-ranking Facebook staff

The $104billion valuation makes the company bigger than online rival Amazon, and far ahead of well-known institutions like Disney and Kraft.

Zuckerberg was perched on a stage at 6:30am local time outside of Facebook headquarters in what employees call 'Hacker Square,' and was joined by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, as well as dozens of other employees.

Appropriately, he turned to his creation to share the news, posting a status update that read: ‘Mark Zuckerberg listed a company on Nasdaq.’

He tagged Sandberg, as well as VP of Product Chris Cox, Cipora Herman, Dave Kling, and David Ebersman in the post.


Trading, which was slated to begin at 11am EST was delayed by nearly a half hour as traders were having problems placing and cancelling orders for Facebook stocks.

But by 11:30am EST, shares were officially on the market and opened at $42, a ten per cent increase from the estimated $38 opening.

According to Mercury News, Facebook’s main campus was swarmed with news crews and their TV trucks as they awaited the historic moment.

Before the 6:30am morning bell, some employees could be seen blowing off steam on the treadmills, while others were continuing work or snacking.

Mercury News noted that the parking lot was full of both sports and luxury cars, and was being meticulously patrolled by private security guards.


Social network: Dozens of employees were there cheering and clapping as Zuckerberg signed the Nasdaq board


East Coast: Across the country in New York's Times Square, onlookers watch Zuckerberg after he rang the opening bell


Social network: People in Times Square take pictures of the historic moment


Initial trading: Facebook's share price opened at $42 - 10 per cent higher than expected

Across the country, onlookers in New York gathered outside of Nasdaq's sign in Times Square to watch Zuckerberg remotely ring the bell.

Some were pictured capturing the moment on their smartphones, while others were happy to commit the event only to memory.

Zuckerberg, who created the website in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004, will have a stake worth an estimated $19.1billion - making him the 23rd richest person in the world at the age of 28.

As of this afternoon, his wealth is estimated at $20.76billion.

However, critics have questioned whether the valuation is too high for a company which had a turnover of $3.7billion last year and made profits of $1billion.

In contrast, Google had a market value of nearly $25 billion in 2004 when mainstream investors got their first chance to buy stock in the Internet search leader.

Now, the stock market will assign a dollar value to Facebook that will rise and fall with investor whims.

It will be subject to broad economic forces and held accountable for profit it earns -or loses- from one quarter to the next.

But Facebook is one a rare companies whose IPO transcends Wall Street's money lust.

It is a cultural touchstone for the way technology reshapes our lives.

Since its start as a scrappy network for college students, Facebook has come to define social networking by getting 900 million people around the world to share everything from photos of their pets to their deepest thoughts.

According to CNBC, There is a record-breaking demand for shares by small investors over any other IPO on record.

Before the initial trading, the business news channel predicted that individuals had the chance of obtaining as much as 20 per cent of Facebook’s public offering.


Game on: Reporters work in front of electronic screens during the IPO for Facebook at Nasdaq in New York


Good Friday: Passers-by walk by the sign for Facebook displayed at Nasdaq in Times Square ahead of the morning bell

The IPO, expected to mint more than a thousand paper millionaires at the company, has received wall-to-wall media coverage and sparked hopes of a boom in sales of everything from San Francisco Bay Area real estate to automobiles.

Facebook employees marked the event with an all-night 'hackathon' at the company's Menlo Park, California headquarters starting on Thursday evening, a tradition in which programmers work on side projects that sometimes turn into mainstream offerings.

The $104billion valuation could rise by as much as 50 per cent in the first day of trading today.

The investment banks orchestrating the offering will sell the stock to their clients for a price of $38 per share, on the higher end of the expected offerings.

Facebook's stock began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol 'FB'.

At $16billion, the size of the IPO is the second-largest for a U.S. company, behind Visa, which raised $17.86billion in 2008. Around 420billion shares have been made available today.

It will bring in many millions of dollars for Facebook's earliest employees, such as Mr Zuckerberg and co-founder Eduardo Saverin.


Preparations: Two television reporters give live reports outside of Facebook headquarters just before Zuckerberg rang the bell


Up all night: Last night, Zuckerberg held a Hackathon at the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park California - the employees hold one every few months to generate ideas

Mr Saverin, who has courted controversy with the announcement that he is to give up his U.S. citizenship and settle in Singapore, defended his decision on Thursday.

He insisted in a statement: 'I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen.

'It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation.'

The IPO will also make U2 front man Bono, who owns 2.3 per cent of Facebook's shares, the wealthiest musician in the world – even over Sir Paul McCartney.

Music website NME reported that Bono’s share worth in the company hovers around $1.5billion, in addition to his existing wealth.


No sleep: Hundreds of software engineers and technicians at the Facebook HQ held an all night 'Hackathon' fueled by crates of Red Bull


Beverage break: Some engineers took some time away from programming to enjoy a cold one


High five: Two Facebook employees share a happy moment outside of Facebook headquarters 12 in Menlo Park; many will become millionaires today

Sir McCartney is worth an estimated $1.05billion.

For the Harvard dorm-born social network that re imagined how people communicate online, the stock sale means more money to operate the data centres that hold the trove of status updates, photos and videos shared by Facebook's 900million users.

It also means more money to hire the best engineers to work at its sprawling headquarters in Menlo Park, California, or in New York City, where it opened an engineering office last year.

And it means early investors, who took a chance seeding the young social network with start-up funds six, seven and eight years ago, can reap big rewards.

Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist who sits on Facebook's board of directors, invested $500,000 in the company back in 2004.

He is selling nearly 17million of his shares in the IPO, bringing him around $640million.

The offering values Facebook, whose 2011 revenue was $3.7billion, at as much as $104 billion. Google, whose revenue stood at $38billion last year, has a market capitalization of $207billion.

There are a few reasons for the exuberance. One is the IPO's sheer size.



Stock market take off: Facebook launches with a $104bn valuation

Facebook's $104bn valuation will make it worth more than Hewlett-Packard and Dell combined - not bad for an internet start-up which began life in a university dorm room eight years ago.

But critics have said that the $38 share price is much too high for a company which made profits of just $1bn last year on a $3.7bn turnover last year.

In contrast, Google had a market value of nearly $25 billion in 2004 when mainstream investors got their first chance to buy stock in the Internet search leader.

Facebook's staggering market value makes it bigger than US manufacturing giants Ford and Boeing combined, and all the more incredible given that currently earns a fraction of what those ‘old world’ companies do.

With a valuation of more than 25 times its turnover, it is way out of kilter with stock market realities. In contrast, Google, worth almost $200bn is worth only six times its turnover.

But despite this investors will snap up Facebook shares today - based on the company's potential.

The chances of Facebook's stock doubling or tripling during the next five years look promising, given that the company is sitting on a gold mine of personal data prized by advertisers looking to peddle their products and services to the people most likely to buy them.

Apple debuted with a market value of less than $2 billion in 1980, while Microsoft took its bow in 1986 with a market value of less than $1 billion.

Facebook shares could easily soar today - and end the day 50 per cent above their $104bn valuation.

Last year, LinkedIn's shares rocketed from $45 in its IPO pricing to $122.70 within the first few hours of trading. A year later, the stock hasn't touched that price again.

But a month after the IPO, patient investors were able to snap up LinkedIn's shares for under $64. The stock has bounced back above $100, now that LinkedIn has proved it can be more profitable than analysts anticipated.



Forced out: Co-founder Eduardo Saverin (left) had his shareholding in Facebook diluted - however he still has a 4 percent share in the company worth $4.2billion. His departure was dramatised in the film The Social Network when he was played by Andrew Garfield (right)


HQ: The deal will enable the firm, based in Menlo Park, California, to engage in further expansion

Investor appetite for the stock will probably propel Facebook's valuation above some of America's most venerable firms.

Secondly, it's personal.

'It's probably one of the first times there has been an IPO where everyone sort of has a stake in the outcome,' says analyst Brian Blau.


Facebook Inc., IPO in May 2012, at least $16billion

Google Inc., August 2004, $1.67billion

Yandex N.V., May 2011, $1.3billion

Infonet Services Corp., December 1999, $1.08billion

Shanda Games Ltd., September 2009, $1.04billion

Zynga Inc., December 2011, $1billion

Giant Interactive Group Inc., October 2007, $887million

Renren Inc., May 2011, $743million

Groupon Inc., November 2011, $700million

Orbitz Worldwide Inc., July 2007, $510million

While most Facebook users won't see a penny from the offering, they are all intimately familiar with the company.

And then there is Mr Zuckerberg, who turned 28 on Monday. He has emerged as the latest in a lineage of Silicon Valley prodigies who are alternately hailed for pushing the world in new directions and reviled for overstepping their bounds.

Although Mr Zuckerberg is selling about 30 million shares, he will remain Facebook's largest shareholder.

He set up two classes of Facebook stock, building on the model Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created as part of the online search leader's 2004 IPO.

The dual class structure helps to ensure that he and other executives keep control as the demands of Wall Street exert new pressures on the company.

As a result, with the help of early investors who have promised to vote their stock his way, Mr Zuckerberg will have the final say on how nearly 56 per cent of Facebook's stock votes.

True to form, Mr Zuckerberg and Facebook's engineers are ringing in the IPO on their own terms.

The company held an overnight 'hackathon' last night, where engineers stayed up writing programming code to come up with new features for the site.

Video: Mark Zuckerberg rings the Nasdaq opening bell from Facebook's California headquarters



The Facebook billionaires: This graph shows who owns shares in the social-networking site


NASDAQ: The exchange on which Facebook will be traded is set to be opened by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday


Where it all began: Mark Zuckerberg created the social networking website that came to be known as Facebook, in his Harvard University dorm at Kirkland House in 2004


Mark Zuckerberg

Number of shares being offered: 30.2million

Value: $1.15billion

James Breyer and Accel Partners

Year invested in Facebook: 2005

Number of shares being offered: 49million

Value: $1.86billion

Peter Thiel, managing partner at The Founders Fund and PayPal co-founder

Year invested in Facebook: 2004

Number of shares being offered: 16.8million

Value: $640million

DST Global Ltd. and affiliates, a London-based, Russian-founded investment firm focused on Internet companies and founded by Yuri Milner

Year invested in Facebook: 2009 and late 2010

Number of shares being offered: 45.7million

Value: $1.74billion

Goldman Sachs and affiliates, investment bank and one of the IPO's underwriters

Year invested in Facebook: 2011

Number of shares being offered: 28.7million

Value: $1.09billion

Elevation Partners, private equity firm focused on media and technology and affiliates

Number of shares being offered: 4.6million

Value: $176million

Greylock Partners, Silicon Valley venture capital firm and affiliates

Year invested in Facebook: 2006

Number of shares being offered: 7.6million

Value: $289million

Mail.ru Group Ltd., Russian Internet company

Year invested in Facebook: 2009

Number of shares being offered: 19.6million

Value: $745million

Mark Pincus, Zynga Inc. CEO

Year invested in Facebook: 2004

Number of shares being offered: 1million

Value: $38million

Meritech Capital Partners, venture capital firm focused on late-stage investments

Number of shares being offered: 7million

Value: $266million

Microsoft Corp.

Year invested in Facebook: 2007

Number of shares being offered: 6.6million

Value: $249million

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn Corp. and affiliates

Year invested in Facebook: 2004

Number of shares being offered: 942,784

Value: $36million

Tiger Global Management, New York-based investment firm

Number of shares being offered: 23.4million

Value: $889million

Other, smaller stockholders are offering another 70,504 shares.

Value: $2.7million

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this could all go kaput in 5 years.

ask yahoo. facebook is slow to get into mobile phones and thats where the next facebook will come from

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