Zuckerberg sets Facebook IPO for May 18 as it trumpets mobile growth
The roadshow will see founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg closely involved, according to sources quoted by Reuters. To date he has been mostly in the background as the IPO has progressed and did not attend an analysts’ meeting in March.
Facebook will use the roadshow events to present its strategy to investors as it prepares to raise at least $5bn in what will be the largest technology IPO in Silicon Valley’s history, which will value Facebook at roughly $100bn.
That will make the social network a similar size to McDonald’s, which is valued at around $101.5bn, and will be four times the value of Google when it went public in 2004 with a valuation of $23bn. Although Facebook has some way to go to match Google’s size today. The search giant now has a market capitalisation of $197.5bn.
Investors will no doubt have questions about Facebook’s disappointing first-quarter results, which saw it post its first quarterly revenue fall in two years, despite increasing 41% year on year to $1.06bn (£656m) and active monthly users surpassing 900 million.
A source familiar with the offering said last week that a recent acquisition spurt by the company could have added about a week to the IPO timetable as regulators signed off on the deals.
This review is close to completion, however, allowing the company to go ahead with the roadshow on May 7, according to the source who spoke with Reuters on Tuesday. The sources did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak about the company’s IPO.
“I have not seen as broad-based interest in an IPO since Google. Investor demand is immense,” said Scott Sweet of research firm IPO Boutique. “I expect a roadshow that will rival all roadshows where investors will be turned away at the door,” Reuters reported.
One of the questions investors will want answers to is how does Facebook plan to make money out of mobile? To partly answer that question Facebook has today released figures demonstrating how it is doing in mobile even if it is not yet making much cash — although it is certainly spending it with its acquisition of Instagram a few weeks ago for $1bn in cash and shares.
In a blog post Facebook said the mobile traffic it was driving to games and other apps was increasing rapidly:
“Facebook sent more than 160 million visitors last month to mobile apps (up from 60 million in late February). These mobile visitors were responsible for more than 1.1 billion visits to mobile apps in the same time frame (up from 320 million in late February). Seven of the top ten grossing iOS apps and six of the top ten grossing Android apps are integrated with Facebook.
“As mentioned in previous highlights, features like Single Sign On and Open Graph increase installs, usage, and re-engagement for mobile apps, regardless of whether they are built for iOS, Android or the mobile web.”
It pointed to examples of mobile apps using Facebook to drive growth including the social professional network BranchOut, which it said had grown from one million monthly active users to over 12.5 million monthly active users 12 weeks after releasing its Facebook integrated mobile web app.
Another example it gave was Viddy’s iOS app which gives people a simple way to capture, beautify, and share videos with their iPhone. Since integrating with Facebook and launching its Open Graph actions, Viddy’s community has grown to over 16 million registered users.
A third success it noted is the movie review and info mobile web app Flixster, which has grown the number of visitors from Facebook 10x to over 480,000 daily in the past 4 weeks. These visitors generated a total of 15 million visits in the same period.
A spokesperson for Facebook offered no comment on the IPO story.