Facebook has seen its highest implied valuation yet: $102.8 billion, thanks to a share price of $44.10 and assuming some 2.33 billion outstanding shares. The last highest valuation was $102.3 billion thanks to a share price of $44, but the company ended February with a $93.1 billion valuation. Now it's back up.
Facebook isn't just ending March with a $102.8 billion valuation – it's reportedly ending all secondary-market trading at its highest point yet. Earlier this week, a rumor suggested Facebook is halting the trading of its shares on secondary markets by the beginning of April in advance of its $5 billion initial public offering (IPO). If true, the move will end price fluctuations in private trading, giving Facebook time to account for its shareholding base as it makes final preparations for its IPO, including determining a valuation with bankers and investors. Today's news of this last unofficial auction seems to confirm the rumor.
For a while now, employees and early stakeholders have been selling shares privately on SecondMarket and SharesPost. Most of these have been in the valuation range of $80 billion but ever since the company's IPO numbers became public, the valuations are much higher and auction failures have stopped happening. The second market is different, but nevertheless, it still gives you a good idea if a company's valuation is decreasing or increasing.
Here's the relevant part of the e-mail SharesPost sent out regarding the auction:
SharesPost Financial Corporation completed its auction on March 30, 2012 of 150,000 units of an investment vehicle designated to hold shares of Facebook. We would like to thank the more than 1,100 institutions and individuals who participated in our Facebook auctions, resulting in total share and unit sales of more than $425,000,000.
Facebook is back above the $100 billion mark it has been projected to be worth. Even if it goes back below that number, Facebook is still expected to create more than 1,000 new millionaires (will your friend be one of them?) when it goes public.
It's important to remember that we won't know what the company's actual valuation is until right before the offering is made, which typically occurs about three months after the company files for its IPO. Indeed, the latest rumor slates May 2012 as the expected timeframe for Facebook going public. An exact date still hasn't been determined, but you can expect those rumors to start soon, along with the speculation of what valuation Facebook will go public at. Will it be $100 billion?
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