Facebook appears ready to delay its initial public offering. CNBC first reported that the social media giant was pondering moving the big event to June.
Facebook representatives could not immediately be reached for comment about the status of its IPO. The company was expected to begin its IPO road show in two weeks in anticipation of a May public offering, according to news reports.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been busy spending cash, though, and that may be spurring delays. Facebook just snapped up Instagram, a popular photo app. And the company also spent $550 million on patents from Microsoft in a move to beef up its IP protection in the lawsuits with Yahoo and any other attacks patent trolls may launch against it once it collects what could be a $100 billion IPO.
Social Media Ups and Downs
In November, Groupon posted the largest initial public offering since Google by raising $700 million. Then, in December, Zynga one-upped the social couponing site with an IPO of its own by raising $1 billion in its IPO. Zynga then boasted the biggest IPO since Google raised $1.9 billion in 2004. Facebook could dwarf them all when it goes public.
Many industry watchers expect Facebook's valuation to range between $75 billion and $100 billion. Facebook wants to raise up to $10 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Facebook posted a $1 billion profit in 2011 on $3.71 billion in revenues.
Beyond the recent acquisitions, Facebook is also under heavy government scrutiny. Every two years for the next 20 years, Facebook is required to have independent, third-party audits certifying that it has a privacy program in place that meets or exceeds the requirements of a Federal Trade Commission order, and to ensure that the privacy of consumers' information is protected.
Facebook's Rare Moves
We caught up with Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research for Frost & Sullivan, to discuss the whys and what nows of Facebook's apparent decision to push off its IPO.
"The IPO will be delayed by one extra month, at most -- but the show will go on," Wengroff said. "Decisions to buy Instagram for $1 billion over the course of a weekend, in addition to a $550 million patent portfolio from Microsoft, have served to delay the IPO -- but have also created the need for additional financial disclosures" with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Few companies in an IPO quiet period carry out such large-scale transactions, he said, and this has served as a curious point in the process of Facebook becoming a public company.
Still, Wengroff remains bullish on Facebook's overall IPO timing.
"It may appear that the company has waited on the sidelines as other social media companies have transitioned to becoming public companies," Wengroff said, "but Facebook had to make calculated moves to ensure that nothing could stand in the way of its filing."