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Facebook To Put Off IPO Until Late 2012 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the status-delayed dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Facebook's whispered about IPO is one of the most anticipated in the industry — but it looks like we'll have to anticipate it for a bit longer. The Financial Times, quoting anonymous sources, says that it won't happen until late next year. Those sources say the purpose is to keep Facebook employees focused on product development, but it seems more likely that Facebook's bankers aren't happy with the company's numbers (or the economy's prospects)."
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Facebook To Put Off IPO Until Late 2012

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  • The Mayans predicted it, Facebook will bring about the end of the world in 2012!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ge7 (2194648)
      To be honest, Facebook has done a lot of good. It's incredibly easy to keep up with people living on the other side of the world, even with those you don't really know that well but still have gone out to bar sometimes etc. It has also brought businesses, restaurants and everything to one single page with one unified interface, so you don't have to hunt them from Google or other search engines. The real names and connections between people make it a lot easier for you to discover new things and people too.
      • Re:Apocalypse how? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ciderbrew (1860166) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:14AM (#37407816)
        To be honest it's a pain. It's blocked from just about every work place and even after you've clocked off and you want to go drinking all the info is locked away. The phone app is so invasive I've un-installed it and make do with awful webpages they serve up on mobile.

        I book people for events and people book me for events and to be honest, it's one more point of contact that I could do without. It's best use is for one to many dissemination of information. For many to many it is dire; but as so many people are on, it I'm stuck with it. It has a long way to go and I'm looking forward to the next company that steps over it with something better. Getting everyone to move will make that hard.
      • by Threni (635302)

        I think it's because it's insecure by design. The internet, websites and emails is what's brought people together. Anyone with Google can google the company name, and go to the site. Having to create a Facebook account before you can use it is a problem if you value security. The real names thing (to the extent that it's policed, which is not very much, just like the `no children` rule) is doesn't help.

        Yes, there are more people into social stuff than there are geeks. If the internet were only used by

      • Re:Apocalypse how? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by arth1 (260657) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:12AM (#37407980) Homepage Journal

        If anything, Facebook has made it much harder for me to stay in touch with friends and relatives.
        Not being a social type, and having a taboo-strength aversion to any conversation in which I only know one of the parties, I'm just not Facebook compatible.
        So I rely on e-mail for communication. But with the advent of Facebook, people no longer check their e-mails, nor bother to reply. So I lose touch with people.

        I'm sure Facebook is great for those who are social. But it's crippling for those of us who can't cope with social situations.

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by ge7 (2194648)
          So maybe it's time to improve your social skills? It's not that hard you know, and once you start doing it you start acting more social naturally. I've been there and even felt awkward in social situations, and now I think it was pretty stupid of me. There's no reason to be non-social, as world is quite stupid without other people.
          • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by arth1 (260657)

            So maybe it's time to improve your social skills? It's not that hard you know

            I know it is that hard. Oh, I try. And invariably end up far more depressed that I was when I started, when it reinforces the feeling of not being part of it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by arth1 (260657)

            I've been there and even felt awkward in social situations

            I missed this part. No, then you haven't been there. Awkwardness isn't the problem - it's just a symptom, and "even" doesn't belong in front of "awkward".
            Try curling up into a ball, or leaving with tears on your face over being excluded by people who don't even realize it, and you are closer. But not there yet.

            Try talking to fifty people and only get one response because someone felt obliged. Sure, that is awkward, but that's not the problem. Seeing those other 49 joke and laugh as a reminder of what

            • Try curling up into a ball, or leaving with tears on your face over being excluded by people who don't even realize it, and you are closer.

              Everyone feels this way sometimes. Seriously, everyone. We're social animals and we generally care about being accepted by others even when it should not matter. Any guy who has ever tried to ask a girl out of a date knows that it can be terrifying, even if you are normally loaded with self confidence. And if you get turned down it can really really hard. People fear public speaking basically out of fear of rejection. Being rejected or turn down for a job, a friendship, or even just a friendly convers

              • I have lived 19 years of my life so far, and I am not the person that is quoted.
                I also have bad social skills.
                But even I have never gotten to the level he talks about. Not even once.
                For him the problem is not that he gets into such a bad situation, but rather that every single of those situations he gets into ends like that.

            • by tehcyder (746570)
              You'll be OK when you grow a bit older, trust me, it's just a question of learning to fake confidence.

              And just remember that the people who are the most out-going and sociable are the ones who feel empty inside when they're alone.
              • by arth1 (260657)

                You'll be OK when you grow a bit older, trust me,

                According to www.deathclock.com, I have less than 2 1/2 years left in which to grow older, but miracles do happen, they say.

        • Send a facebook message. It's as private as anything else.
          • by arth1 (260657)

            Send a facebook message. It's as private as anything else.

            Sounds like a capital idea. How do I do that without having a Facebook acount and having them friend me, again? And how do I get the replies?

            • Think of Facebook as a white list.

              Or are you just thinking of reasons to hate on Facebook and "it ruins my social life" is the best you can think of? I don't like Facebook either, but don't be an idiot.
        • It's crippling to make an account on facebook and accept friend-requests from real friends and check on it once in a while?

          don't be an idiot.

          As you say, it's a way to contact people, all you need to do is make yourself available on it, and if something pops up, there'll be a red notice mark you can click on to check it out, you can ignore all the rest of it.

      • It has also brought businesses, restaurants and everything to one single page with one unified interface, so you don't have to hunt them from Google or other search engines.

        So you're saying it's a good thing that FB is effectively turning the web into a walled garden that is run by Mark Zuckerburg? Yeah, great, totally.

      • It has also brought businesses, restaurants and everything to one single page with one unified interface, so you don't have to hunt them from Google or other search engines.

        Facebook thinks it is the Internet, and many of it's users agree. Now, you just have to hunt them down through Facebook search. I'm not sure that's any improvement. Rather, I see that is a major step backwards. What good is a unified interface to developers and innovation? Do we just hand over the keys to Facebook? Want your restaurant to have a reservation system? Better ask Facebook to make one for you.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Sure. I like Facebook, if not their constant schemes to expose people's information. Is it worth billions though? Put it this way, if Facebook were to start charging $100 for an account would you pay?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2011 @05:48AM (#37407702)

    For all the privacy they've squashed and all the censorship they've jack booted.

    Some of the issues are collected here http://stallman.org/facebook.html [stallman.org]

    • by ge7 (2194648)

      Social networks, for lonely people, may only show them how lonely they are.

      How is this Facebook's fault? Should everyone else stop using social networks and stop being social just because some people are unable to establish relationships with other people?

      • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:27AM (#37408032) Homepage Journal

        The problem is that you stop being social with those who need it the most - those you won't find on Facebook.

        • To imply that you would somehow still socialize with those people outside Facebook, when you wont on Facebook, is a bit disingenuous. I used to be horribly socially inept, a veritable outcast, as it were. Then I met my wife. And I came to a realization. If people don't have time to include me, they can go fuck themselves. Now I have two very close friends. Everyone on Facebook? People that i barely care about, but have to "keep in touch with" for various reasons (family, friends of family, etc) - using
          • by arth1 (260657)

            To imply that you would somehow still socialize with those people outside Facebook, when you wont on Facebook, is a bit disingenuous.

            No, it isn't; I'm talking from experience. I have tried Facebook, but it became too emotionally painful to use -- a constant reminder that I'm the loner who don't attract friends, and don't understand how people have fun there, only observe that they do and that I'm not a part of that. You never feel as lonely as in a crowd.

            Yet I communicate with a couple of people through e-mail -- people I also communicated with before Facebook.
            But there are fewer now, because some people no longer read their e-mail; th

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              You're complaining about "social networking sites" vs. one-to-one communications.. Yet you're posting these complaints to a web site full of people you don't know.. Somewhat analogous to a social networking site.

              Others have mentioned that Facebook has private messages (which DO send emails if you have it configured that way).. and I presume the recent-ish @facebook.com addresses effectively turn outside email into Facebook private messages.

              I'm not the hugest fan in the world of FB either, but it can be ent

              • by arth1 (260657)

                You're complaining about "social networking sites" vs. one-to-one communications.. Yet you're posting these complaints to a web site full of people you don't know.. Somewhat analogous to a social networking site.

                From my socially incompetent point of view, the differences are enormous:

                • - Talking to people you don't know is very different from talking to a mixed company of people you know ("friends") and people you don't know, but they know ("friends of friends"). Here, you're all strangers, which takes away the whole fear of what your friends think, or what their friends think.
                • - There aren't any comments I can see but can't reply to without mustering up courage to ask for a friendship first.
                • - You can direct your rep
        • The problem is that you stop being social with those who need it the most - those you won't find on Facebook.

          Someone who has that much difficulty being social won't be found outside of Facebook either. If someone is interested in being social they will find a way to do it - with or without Facebook. Believe it or not it's 100% possible to have a social life without using Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, email, instant messaging or even... gasp, the internet.

          • by arth1 (260657)

            Someone who has that much difficulty being social won't be found outside of Facebook either.

            I'm not asking to be "found" - that's a social networking concept alien to me. I'm asking not to be forgot.

            Believe it or not it's 100% possible to have a social life without using Facebook, Twitter,

            Absolutely. But it requires that those you communicate with don't abandon one-on-one communication in favour of social networking.

        • The problem is that you stop being social with those who need it the most - those you won't find on Facebook.

          While I'm sure there are lonely people who are not on Facebook, them going on facebook is not going to stop them being lonely.

          I have very recently joined facebook but that's not to make new friends but because my friends were organizing things on facebook and I couldn't access the details.

          I've just gone and looked at who my "friends" are. All of them are either relatives (about 20%) or people I've ha

          • by arth1 (260657)

            While I'm sure there are lonely people who are not on Facebook, them going on facebook is not going to stop them being lonely.

            This is exactly my point. It will often make them feel more [guardian.co.uk] lonely [blogspot.com].

            I think that part of this is that what lonely people crave isn't acquaintances, but friends. Social networking sites really aren't the ideal places for that; comparing who you think of as friends to the number others claim as friends doesn't do much for the self esteem. Neither does unfortunate occurrences of finding out that who you thought of as friends really only are acquaintances who value you slightly less than 137 others.

            I'm sure t

        • Some people will, most people won't. This isn't Facebook's fault.

      • And besides, living in your parent's basement and contributing to free and open software all day is *much* more fulfulling and rewarding.

        Stallman himself isn't exactly known for being adept at social interactions.
    • Your comment deserves a +1 Stallman.

    • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:22AM (#37408012) Homepage

      I love this one (emphasis mine)

      Facebook permanently records everything you do, even what you look at, even items that are "deleted". And presumably gives them to the CIA.

      And presumably to Al-Qaeda and North Korea as well. Get a grip, Richard.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If Facebook records it, they - like all big corporations - WILL give it to whichever agency asks. Either because of some "national security" law or simply for some goodwill with government agencies in general.

        You can ridicule it all you want. That doesn't change the fact that if they want to, agencies like the CIA have unrestricted access to all of Facebook's data.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          If you're the sort of person the CIA are interested in, you shouldn't really be posting stuff on Facebook anyway (except as part of your cover story).
  • Facebook missed the boat. The bubble is burst.
    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:06AM (#37407778) Journal
      Doesn't matter. They've benefitted from it already, and without that pesky regulation stuff. The sold a big chunk of (massively overvalued) shares to Goldman Sachs, who then sold shares in a fund backed by Facebook shares. Because GS was the only shareholder, they didn't pass the threshold required to go public (and so have to publish accounts). Facebook got a big chunk of capital, GS got a new to you play their hype-and-dump games with, a load of rich people got to buy in early and enjoy the bubble, and a load of other people will get left holding the hot potato when they eventually revalue the fund to be based on something sane.
  • This doesn't come as a surprise to me at all. Who in their right minds would go forward with an IPO when the investors are trying to pull out their money from the market. Seems to me, Facebook has a lot of time before it can go ahead with this, if they want it to be a success!
  • by oliverk (82803) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:07AM (#37407782)

    I've got an old theory that everyone's hot at some point in their lives...which is why it's difficult to see a cute little kid knowing full well they've got a devastating blow coming to them as their nose grows too long, their face takes on odd proportions or their complexion goes to pot, oftentimes before they've even hit dating years.

    Now, there's Facebook. Did they get hot once already and the decline is starting to set in? When you think about the "social infrastructure," are they the first to come to mind? Does Google actually have the opportunity to change the game on them in a way that they'll never be able to compete with? And does the radical demise of every hot property from CompuServe to Yahoo! tell us everything we need to know about how deep our roots are in the social world?

    Not saying it's true, just saying it's worth pondering...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've got an old theory that everyone's hot at some point in their lives...which is why it's difficult to see a cute little kid knowing full well they've got a devastating blow coming to them as their nose grows too long, their face takes on odd proportions or their complexion goes to pot, oftentimes before they've even hit dating years.

      If you think kids are cute and "hot", but think their faces take on odd proportions as they grow older, you need so go see a therapist today, Mr Closet-Paedophile.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When did we get to the point that you cannot even point out that a young child may look beautiful? They quite often do you know, it's in their (evolutionary) best interest to look cute, adorable, and non-threatening; it makes adults (especially their parents) want to protect them.

        Sometimes a good-looking child ends up a pretty adolescent, and some of them have a perfect figure and hot body for most of their adult lives. Others end up with horrible acne at 14, or figure World of Warcraft is a good way to spe

        • by amaupin (721551)
          Yes, a 14 year old girl could be sexually attractive. However the great-grandparent seemed to be saying a cute little boy was hot (sexually attractive). I don't think that's what Oliver meant, but it's what he seemed to say.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          When did we get to the point that you cannot even point out that a young child may look beautiful?

          There are many suitable words to describe a beautiful child, "hot" is not one of them.

          To be fair, the OP is jprobably ust barely literate and can only write in moronic cliches, rather than actually being a paedophile.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            You all are very confused. The word "hot" has many definitions. You're only "hot" once doesn't mean sexually. We're talking about Facebook. Do you think when Facebook was "hot" people wanted to have sex with it? I regularly hear people talk about a "hot" property. Personally, I'm amazed some of you can get along at all in the world being so insanely literal you see pedophiles falling from trees.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:14AM (#37407814) Homepage

    I've been in a tech company that was poised for an IPO just before the sub-prime bubble burst and rained on everyone's parade. An external firm was brought in to handle it, took one look at the books, and told us that we were, to paraphrase only very slightly, having a laugh.

    A business model based on growing on private investment rather than revenue, vastly over-inflated self estimate of worth, and years of accounting sleights of hand were easily rooted out.

    Sight unseen, I'd suspect - OK, to be honest, hope - that Facebook is in a similar situation. They may have to go through a few firms before they find out willing to take them to market with a multi billion dollar cap and a straight face.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I've been in a tech company that was poised for an IPO just before the sub-prime bubble burst and rained on everyone's parade. An external firm was brought in to handle it, took one look at the books, and told us that we were, to paraphrase only very slightly, having a laugh.

      So who had told you that you should go for an IPO in the first place? Did you not have professional advice before you were "poised"? Weren't your books ever audited?

    • A business model based on growing on private investment rather than revenue, vastly over-inflated self estimate of worth, and years of accounting sleights of hand were easily rooted out.

      Sight unseen, I'd suspect - OK, to be honest, hope - that Facebook is in a similar situation. They may have to go through a few firms before they find out willing to take them to market with a multi billion dollar cap and a straight face.

      By George, I think you've got it!

      Until they go public, all of the information about the company's operations are secret and people buying into Facebook as investors are having to rely on the word of Goldman Sachs that what they are getting is worth what they are paying.

      Think about it.

      Goldman Sachs.

      Has that company ever crafted a deal where it did not cut itself a sweetheart inside arrangement? Self-dealing is the company's DNA. It seems to always make a lot of money, a lot of money, no matter how badly

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      It's the "new economy". The same idiocy from the dotcom bubble is still alive and well, it even existed for awhile before the dotcom bubble. That idea is that profit revenue is minor and that perception is more important because perception encourages investors (or more precisely, speculators). Banks are (slightly) smarter now about doing their diligence before believing the hype.

      When investors are flush with cash, such as right before the subprime bubble burst, they get sloppy and take less care and make

  • Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phurge (1112105) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:36AM (#37407878)

    I hate the Facebook, try as I might I've had zero success in migrating my family and friends to superior services like twitter & google+. (I'm gen x btw). Reason being is my non computer literate family and friends can't cope with the cognitive dissonance of learning yet another www site on the internet. If they do manage to do so, then there's no-one there, except boring self-promoters (hello twitter!). So Facebook will be around for a long time to come and people like me who know there's better alternatives will still be forced to use it.

    Getting back on topic, postponing the IPO makes a tonne of sense. The markets are in turmoil with Greece and Italy about to default. For an IPO of the size of Facebook, any sensible banker would wait and see.

    Plus the USA has its election next year, so inevitably the pork barrel will come out. No doubt that will add a couple of digits to the user/revenue/ebitda mulitple that Facebook will be valued at.

    • by tepples (727027)

      I've had zero success in migrating my family and friends to superior services like twitter & google+.

      Twitter is a microblogging platform and not much more, as I understand it. Google+ is in limited field trial ("We've temporarily exceeded our capacity."), just like Facebook was in the college-only era.

      • by zevans (101778)

        Twitter is a microblogging platform and not much more, as I understand it.

        It may have started that way - but now there are a good proportion of people that use Twitter for the online portion of their social lives IN PREFERENCE TO Facebook or indeed SMS.

        It seems to me that many people join Twitter, follow a few celebs, and then say they can't see the point and it's just full of self-promoting celebs. I trust you can all see the fallacy here.

        Facebook and Twitter (and G+) are tools, and they are what you make them. Twitter's fantastic for socialising with other people who share a no

        • by tepples (727027)

          It may have started that way - but now there are a good proportion of people that use Twitter for the online portion of their social lives

          How does that work? Can you recommend a guide to getting the most out of the tool that is Twitter? (I'd use Google, but Google has trouble with synonyms, such as synonyms for "to get the most out of", and doesn't clearly indicate a site's reputability.)

          It seems to me that many people join Twitter, follow a few celebs, and then say they can't see the point and it's just full of self-promoting celebs.

          That or they join Slashdot and think Twitter is full of pro-GNU/Linux, anti-M$ sockpuppets [slashdot.org].

    • Cognitive disequilibrium is a better term for that phenomena.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>cognitive dissonance of learning yet another www site

      That's not cognitive dissonance.

      You, on the other hand - talking about why Facebook is great even though you hate it - is a perfect example of cognitive dissonance.

    • by alen (225700)

      that's because G+ with it's circles and "following" mentality is only for bloggers to promote themselves

    • So Facebook will be around for a long time to come and people like me who know there's better alternatives will still be forced to use it.

      Huh? Unless you are in the unlikely circumstance where your employer requires you to use Facebook as part of your job, no one is forced to use Facebook. I don't have an account and live quite happily without Facebook. In fact I cannot see any real fit for it in my life - it just has nothing to offer me that I need or want. I'm not denying that Facebook can be useful/fun for many people but it is highly overrated in terms of it being necessary.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        "Necessary" is likely an exaggeration, but he did mention his "my non computer literate family and friends".

        So, if he wants an easy way to communicate with them en masse *IN A WAY THAT THEY WILL GET AND RESPOND TO THE COMMUNICATION*, he uses Facebook.

        How is that so hard to understand?

    • by Mr_Silver (213637)

      I hate the Facebook, try as I might I've had zero success in migrating my family and friends to superior services like twitter & google+.

      Maybe they don't want to use Google+ because they don't consider a service superior if it doesn't have their friends on it?

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I hate the Facebook, try as I might I've had zero success in migrating my family and friends to superior services like twitter & google+.

        Maybe they don't want to use Google+ because they don't consider a service superior if it doesn't have their friends on it?

        Or people like me who know that the real purpose of G+ is to get even more people's information and to tie all your browsing habits to your google account.

        Facebook has a lot of information, but it suffers because all that information has to be ente

    • I hate the Facebook,

      It's not the facebook, you know?

      Drop the "The." Just "Facebook." It's cleaner

      .

    • by jyx (454866)

      Plus the USA has its election next year, so inevitably the pork barrel will come out. No doubt that will add a couple of digits to the user/revenue/ebitda mulitple that Facebook will be valued at.

      No it wont. Remember the politicians promised to reduce spending, they even have a bipartisan committee and everything. In fact, I understand your guys are so committed to this that a certain ratings agency is being put through the wringer for suggesting otherwise..

  • first demonstrate you can deal with google+ then we give you money.

    • Serious question - not a troll. Do you really think Google+ is succeeding? Here is my personal experience FWIW. I have created Google+ account in the first couple of days, sent out invites to my friends and family (at least the ones I really wanted to keep in touch) and everyone was very eager. There used to be so much activity that I thought it's the end of my Facebook usage. Couple of weeks later, it all started dwindling. Now the only updates I see on G+ are the ones I make and the ones posted by my frie

      • by drolli (522659)

        Depends. The combination of influencing android devices quite directly, combining with gmail id (many people dont like to sign on multiple times), map services, services like latitute, google places with cheking and money to acquire a lot of companies who have local competence and bussinesses already listed there makes them a serious competitor.

        My interpretation of the beta for google+ is that they need to figure out

        a) how to monetize on it

        b) how not to step on the feet of their own customers

        c) prevent any

      • by coolmadsi (823103)

        I post a fair bit to Google+, although I usualy duplicate the post to Facebook and twitter. I much prefer Google+ to Facebook, so keep posting there enough though I have less contacts there. My reason being that if anyone else does migrate over to Google+ from Facebook or elsewhere, they will see some activity instead of nothing happening and stop logging on.

        The interaction with people is about the same I think. For example, I posted a photo to both Google+ and Facebook, and it got a similar level of inter

      • by dave562 (969951)

        That is the same experience I had. There was a faint interest in G+ at first, but once everyone realized that there were not very many people using it and that everyone was "still on Facebook", the impetus to use G+ dwindled.

        Like so much out of Google, they blew it again. "Limited betas" and "exclusivity" works great when you have something that nobody else does. Gmail was a great example of that. Free webmail was a fairly new phenomena and webmail with a real amount of storage was unheard of. In that

        • by residieu (577863)

          Free webmail was a fairly new phenomena and webmail with a real amount of storage was unheard of.

          What? Hotmail and yahoo mail had been around for years when gmail came out. They may not have had the ridiculous amount of storage that gmail did, but just the idea of webmail was nothing new. Gmail's interface was the interesting part, with labels instead of folders and the threaded mail tracking.

          • by dave562 (969951)

            The point I was trying to make and that I failed to convey was that at the time, Google was new. Google has (and arguably still has) the best search engine on the internet. "Everyone" was excited about Google and so Gmail had an air of exclusivity about it when it came out. There is nothing special or exclusive about G+. It is "just another Facebook" in the eyes of their target audience.

          • You're right. I think the main difference between why the invite system worked for gmail and not so well for G+ is simply because an email does not require you to have your friends be subscribers to the same system. So whoever got the service could use it fully and since there was craze to get the account, people who got it were able to use it. Where as for Google Wave and Google Plus, they are not really usable unless all the people are on the same platform. So if I have an account, but my friends don't -

      • by zevans (101778)

        So it's just occurred to me that G+ is a good way of hosting debates on your favourite topics without needing a social link as strong as a "Facebook friend." Look at how Robert Llewellyn is using it for an example. It's more engaging than a blog but less intimate for Facebook so it's almost the perfect fan club mechanism for whatever. (In his case, the next generation of personal transport.)

        https://plus.google.com/114018232303831249060#114018232303831249060/posts [google.com]

  • A tough one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by datavirtue (1104259) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:20AM (#37408004)
    This is going to be a tough one. Google has already changed the game and Facebook is squirming. I see mainstream news stories about Facebook adding new features that copy Google+. Bankers have advisers who see this kind of thing happening. Frankly, any brokerages/banks willing to float the IPO are looking for an IMMEDIATE payoff (i.e. stripping new "investors" of their buy-in of common stock). Read the "Wall Street Jungle", its an old book the explains this stuff in a simple manner. It is not magic. Plus, the MySpace fiasco is still fresh in everyone's mind. It was SOOO hot!
    • I see mainstream news stories about Facebook adding new features that copy Google+.

      Such as the "feature" of not being able to create an account at all because all servers are full?

    • by jkmartin (816458)
      Facebook continues to exist on weight alone, and that weight can't increase. Everyone that wants an account has one...we're at Peak Facebook. Other than selling some (usually low-end) targeted advertising and taking a (decreasingly lucrative) cut on virtual farm tractors, Facebook has no income. New features do not bring new users in and usually end up straddling the line between creepy and useful. While I think it's imperative to have a white pages for the internet, I don't see how that can be valued a
  • but it seems more likely that Facebook's bankers aren't happy with the company's numbers

    Nowhere in the Financial Times article or the pointless IT World blog post is there anything to support this claim. The FT says the opposite: it's desirable to delay the IPO as much as possible, especially during times of market volatility, and furthermore revenues have most likely doubled since last year.

    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      market volatility

      Have you ever seen a price history of a dotcom after its IPO? It makes April 2000 look like a time of stability and prosperity.

  • "...the purpose is to keep Facebook employees focused on product development..." This amused me more than any lolcat I am likely to see today.
  • The straightforward answer is that a company feels they need a quick cash infusion to take them to the next level. But that must mean they already have a plan for spending that money. Facing competition from Google, knowing that they may have already jumped the shark, knowing that money will become tight real soon, the only reason to put it off till next year is because the owners are planning to cash out, and cash out big.

    • You know I was wondering the same.

      They're throwing numbers in the millions around, so they must have a healthy cash flow. What are they planning that needs that massive cash influx?
      Their expenses are what; data centres, payroll, legal wranglings and some R&D? Their assets are; brand, marketing/demographic data, and some basic IP?

      Or is it the VC that want to cash out and get their return of investment?

    • Umm...many companies (especially in the software/web domain) go IPO because the employees want their big pay-day and early investors want to cash out. It does not necessarily mean they NEED the cash infusion. So they may or may not have a plan for spending the IPO proceeds. Their "plan" could be as generic as "building a war chest for future acquisitions".

  • Why would anyone buy stock in something that is about to get decimated by Google+?
  • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:07AM (#37408568)
    Goldman Sachs bought all those private shares some time ago, looking to make a bunch of money off the IPO. Now that they've had a look at the books, maybe they fear that Facebook isn't worth nearly as much as they hoped.
  • ....I'll give a penny to anyone who answers correctly.

    This is snark, but actually I do have a LARGE entity in mind that I would bet big bucks will be the first to purchase.

    In fact, I'd bet they're talking to them already and working on the best way to ensure success and looking "clean" on it.

  • Facebook is valued based on the fact that it has tons of personal information that it can make available to advertisers. Goldman Sachs and others have already bought into it based on this. However, in practice once they do that there will be a huge outcry, people will leave, those that stay will get the government involved, and it will be a huge mess. They can't just tell Goldman Sachs, sorry, we're only worth half of what you paid into, they need to figure out an alternative business model which will get t
  • The summary absolutely mischaracterizes the blogs it references. The blog relating to Bacebook's bankers doesn't saw anything more than that they can't rule out unsound financials. However, the author himself goes on to say that he doubts this, instead suspecting that the planned delay most likely relates to market conditions. He's likely correct. While the likes of Goldman Sachs may have over paid, Facebook appears to be a solvent venture. Groupon would love to say as much... But don't worry, if they just
  • Some could jump ship to more lucrative startups.
  • By the end of 2012, FB will be "old news". Not quite MySpace 2.0, but the trend will begin to point there. They should IPO now. Trouble is, the moment they IPO (well, 6 months after, due to the quiet period), a lot of employees who have a significant amount of options will exercise them and move on. I have a couple of friends who work there, and while they like working there overall, that's exactly what they intend to do. :-)

  • I remember reading a couple of stories about the first shares of stock that were floated by Goldman Sachs. The SEC prevented Goldman from selling the shares in the United States, so GS had to go to Asia to get rid of them. It was speculated that the shares were so over valued that the SEC was protecting American investors. Is that still the case? Can the shares even be offered in the US?

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @01:01PM (#37411288) Homepage

    Facebook's user count has stopped growing in the US and UK. [guardian.co.uk] That's a killer sign for an IPO.

    Once growth has stopped, the company's value has to be based strictly on revenue. The value of the stock is the present value of future dividends. It's not clear how profitable Facebook really is. Since they're private, audited numbers are not available.

    Once the number of users has peaked, all the ways to increase revenue annoy users. Facebook can run more ads. (See Myspace for where that leads.) They can add more services (Yahoo and Google went overboard in that direction. It didn't help.) They can force developers to pay them. (That works in the short term, until the major developers figure out another way to get paid.)

    Social networks have a life cycle, like nightclubs. They start small, get the cool people, then allow massive numbers of people in. The jerk level becomes excessive, the cool people leave, and the social network winds down. This happened to AOL, Geocities, Orkut, Tribe, Xanga, Bebo, Yahoo 360, Nerve, and Myspace. Facebook looks to be next.

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