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Facebook IPO: Fact or Fiction

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So I was wrong, and Mark Zuckerberg was right to not sell his company for 3/4th of a billion to Yahoo. The prices since then have only gone up – even if they are prices of perceptions. Microsoft has been linked to them with a price tag of $6 billion. Max Levchin, founder of Slide said that Google or Yahoo will have to sign a $10 billion-check if they wanted to buy Facebook.

Dave Winer says who cares what the price tag is – $8 or $10 billion, because Facebook is a company that enables “fewer networks of friends.” And on top of that there has been a lot of talk of a Facebook IPO, because of a video that got taken down, a job posting and well, a summer sun-induced delusion that has swept the valley.

The Fortune iMeme conference was no different. Everyone was talking about Facebook. I was breakfasting with another social network CEO while Jim Breyer was talking about Facebook on a VC panel along side Mike Mortiz of Sequoia Capital. Barrons’ Tech Trader Daily blog did a nice recap of the panel, and here is what Breyer said:

The company will do well over $100 million in revenue, and profitable, and significant EBITDA positive this year.

When asked what would be an impetus to sell Facebook, Breyer said part of it would be price, and then went on to say that they sold some of their companies too early. He gave the example of Perabit.

So is he saying that they want to go I-P-O with Facebook? I think yes, unless of course someone shows up with $10 billion. Given that I was wrong on the price tag the first time, I am going to shake my head quietly and head to the hills this weekend.

15 Responses to “Facebook IPO: Fact or Fiction”

  1. you guys need to get the firefox add-on called boost ( it has a mode where it removes all new applications (i.e. not what used to be the base) from any page you view, ever. it then also has all the features of the facebook toolbar. pretty cool.

    oh and i’ve been saying i don’t think facebook will last. once they introduced these new apps it became the exact reason why i didn’t ever get a myspace. it looks like a toy for children.

  2. RustyS

    I still wonder how they plan to generate revenue to scale with all their theoretical potential . . .

    Google’s revenue stream was already well-proven and everyone knew how well it would scale. Facebook (for all the Google comparisons people seem to shower it with) doesn’t have anything remotely close to that. Viral marketing doesn’t generate big bucks for a publisher/network due to its very nature. Content and behavior-targeted advertising can bring some big bucks, but even with a MASSIVE user base that can only generate so much (see Yahoo – and by all accounts their advertising performs much better than the woeful numbers Facebook currently yields.) A fee-based model won’t work with so many other free networks out there and giants like Google and Yahoo soon to launch their own new networks. So they’ll have to come up with some creative way to monetize the site and I just don’t see any current or upcoming ad-based models that can scale the way they’re hoping (at least to justify the exorbitant valuations we’re currently hearing.)

    It’s a good platform and I use it regularly. But I just don’t understand all the hype.

  3. I think Matt is bang on the money with this, the main reason I chose FB over Hi 5 (too many teenagers) and MySpace (too many crap bands, shitty layouts and posuers) was its simple elegance. It’s clean look and ease of use.

    While a few of these apps are useful the majority turn the page into a mess of stupidity and distraction (and if I get yet another invite to use yet another tedious app I’ll commit mass murder I swear!)…

  4. Matt I’m just curious – as an early user do you feel that Facebook owes you anything for early adopting and/or continuing to use it? ie these huge valuations come from the “value” of the user base, thus one could argue that users deserve at least a modest share of the value of the company. That said, 25 million users into a billion is only $40 per person thus you could argue you get that value just from Facebook’s program goodness.

  5. I was one of the first 1000 users on Facebook and lived about a quarter mile from Mark when he started the site. My friend lived across the hall from him in a Harvard dorm. I have watched Facebook closely from the very start. IMO the new F8 platform will both help and hurt them. Sure, a lot of new applications have been developed for Facebook. But it closed the gap between Facebook and MySpace in terms of appearance. Most of my friends think profiles with applications appear cluttered. MySpace, Bebo, and the other networks will come out with their own platforms soon.

    If Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc, all have open platforms, then what really separates them? The header, footer, and default color scheme? The top widgets/applications will be made in versions for each network. Additionally, any new social network (i.e. Yahoo mosh) can come along with an open platform and instantly have 1000 great widgets that users can plug in. I would argue that this new movement towards an open platform has hurt Facebook more than it has helped, they just don’t realize it yet.

  6. jccodez

    They are electronic sheep herders, the only problem, they have no control over the sheeple or the fence…they will move to another site at the drop of a hat. I would not touch this company if I were microsoft…In fact, I hope google buys them for 10 billion…that would prove how moronic the web 2.0 bubble has become.

  7. Yup, it’s a head shaker. Tech uncertainty seems to breed bizarre speculative valuations. In Bubble 1 it seemed almost every startup was valued foolishly by VCs, where now they are gambling with modest startup funding and assuming they’ll lose most of the bets but win big on a few. Yet for “successful” companies like Facebook and YouTube that have made it through the first rounds of money and social acceptance the perceived upsides seem even higher than in Bubble 1.

  8. When these companies talk about IPO, means they are for sale & already in negotiations. Remember YT IPO comments?

    Let’s see if the $100M revenue card is played correctly or if it is just a negotiation tactic.

    If FB can’t attract ads and once FB fad/craze dies down, let’s see if it can fetch even few hundred millions.