Speaking at the Reuters Global Technology Summit last week, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said a Facebook IPO would be “inevitable”.“It’s a process that all companies go through,” said Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. “It’s an inevitable process for us: the next thing that happens. People used to ask us if we were going to get sold. [But] people have stopped asking us that question – we’re not. No one is buying us, we’re going public.” A Facebook IPO would make a lot of sense. While Sheryl Sandberg refused to comment on when a Facebook IPO would take place, everyone’s money is on April 2012. Facebook has already confirmed that it expects to file public financial reports by April 2012, so a Facebook IPO seems like the next logical step. Why would Facebook want to share its financial data while not also reaping the benefits of an IPO? (Namely lots and lots of cash.) Indeed, according to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s earnings are growing fast enough to potentially justify a $100bn IPO – double the $50bn valuation that was estimated when Goldman Sachs invested in Facebook earlier this year. Finally, Sheryl Sandberg also said that LinkedIn’s IPO “validated the importance” of the social networking business. Has LinkedIn opened up the floodgates for social network IPOs?
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