The Part About Facebook Never Going Public

by Derek Loosvelt | January 05, 2011

I believe this is what they call, over in the English Literature department, irony: Facebook, whose business model and revenues depend on users making their private lives public, will never itself go public.

That is, Zuckerberg & (private) Co. will never back a Facebook IPO, despite what many observers (including this one) have predicted.

Here are a few reasons why (all scarily plausible, partially having to do, of course, with the vampire squid Goldman Sachs itself), from Reuters writer Felix Solomon:

(1) The main reason for an IPO is to raise money, but Facebook has just demonstrated, in its deal with Goldman Sachs, that it’s more than capable of raising as much money as it needs privately. Any time Zuckerberg needs new equity capital, Goldman can find it for him at a very attractive valuation, no IPO required. And if Facebook is now profitable, it probably doesn’t need any more equity capital anyway.

(2) The secondary reason for an IPO is to provide a mechanism for shareholders and early investors to sell their stake in the company. Again, Goldman will happily perform that role, acting as a broker between Facebook insiders looking to sell and its own high-net-worth clients looking to buy. No public listing required.

(3) The final main reason for a public listing is to give the company an acquisition currency—but even without a public listing, Facebook is more than capable of offering to buy other companies with its own stock. It’s very rare for a private company to have stock which is as liquid and as easily valued as Facebook’s—but now that Facebook has got there, it doesn’t really need to go any further.

In additon, Solomon notes that Goldman would not mind "in the slightest if Facebook stays private—right now, it’s in the highly enviable position of having the exclusive ability to parcel out Facebook shares to its own clients, and to make money on pretty much every trade in Facebook shares. That, surely, is more valuable than any one-off IPO fee."

Score yet another one for Lloyd and gang.

(Reuters)

Filed Under: Finance


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