Summary:

Facebook expects to become a public company over the next six to eight months, according to a report Monday. And the first step down that pa…

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg @ F8
photo: Tom Krazit

Facebook expects to become a public company over the next six to eight months, according to a report Monday. And the first step down that path could become before the end of the year.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Facebook has done all its homework internally before taking the leap into the world of publicly traded companies, but that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to decide on the timing of such a move. With the world economy still a bit iffy Facebook seems to be waiting as long as it can before internal and external pressures to see a return on the billions invested in the company come to a head. The first papers could be filed this year, however, according to the report.

The timing isn’t that surprising, as 2012 has long been identified in several reports over the last few months as the year Facebook finally cashes in. The company has more than 500 shareholders at present, which means it will eventually have to disclose its financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission next year in accordance with the law.

But it’s interesting to imagine what Facebook could do with $10 billion in investment, which the report says is the company’s target. That would value Facebook at $100 billion, a market capitalization that’s more than tech heavyweights such as Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO), and HP (NYSE: HPQ). And it would make a mockery of the other tech IPOs of 2011, such as Groupon (NSDQ: GRPN) and LinkedIn.

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