Facebook has become the third-largest initial public offering in US history behind General Motors and Visa, raising at least 16 billion dollars.
The firm is valued at 104 billion dollars (82 billion euros).
The stock is scheduled to start trading later on Friday on the Nasdaq in New York, initially priced at 38 dollars a share. It will give Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg a net worth of nearly 20 billion dollars.
Zuckerberg rang the bell to kick off trading on the Nasdaq market remotely from the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters where he was flanked by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld.
Facebook’s prospects will depend on whether companies are willing to blow a hole in their marketing budgets for a chance to reach the social network’s 900 million users. It is as yet unclear whether advertisers will be willing to pay.
Monthly active users woldwide (in millions) – Source: facebook
- 4 February 2004: Mark Zuckerberg launches his social network “The Facebook”, restricted to students at Harvard University
- September 2006: Facebook becomes available to everyone aged over 13 with and e-mail address
- August 2008: 100 million people around the world use Facebook
- July 2010: Facebook passes the 500 million subscriber mark
- 1 October 2010: The film “The Social Network” by David Fincher tells the story of the creation of Facebook, with the actor Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Mark Zuckerberg.
- 31 December 2011: Facebook is used by 845 people at least once a month and 483 million every day, resulting in more than 100 million friendship connections. In 2011 Facebook reports turnover of 3.71 million dollars.
- April 2012: Facebook buys Instagram, a start-up specialising in online image sharing, valuled at more than a billion dollars
- 17 May: Facebook is floated on the stock market with an initial price of 38 dollars a share