Facebook is reportedly in the market for more funding at a valuation of either $2 billion or $4 billion and neither is all that palatable when you did a Microsoft deal valuing the social networking company at $15 billion.
Perhaps Facebook should just skip this round and go public.
TechCrunch and VentureBeat have interesting takes on the great Facebook valuation debate, but the idea that makes the most sense comes from venture capitalist Fred Wilson.
Wilson notes how Facebook is a very public private company. Revenue is roughly known as are the cash flow and expenses. Meanwhile, there's even a secondary market for Facebook shares. In other words, Facebook is only a little Sarbanes Oxley compliance away from being public anyway so why not take the splash?
This happened a bit with Google early this decade and it was certainly part of their decision to go public (reluctantly). Now it is happening to Facebook, and has been happening for some time...I suspect that Facebook is seriously considering doing what Google did and biting the bullet and going public.
But what about the IPO market? Good companies can go public today. In fact, there's an IPO just getting rolling---Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone priced 6,250,000 shares at $18 a share, above its previous price range. Rosetta Stone makes language learning software.
And so far so good as shares were trading up about 40 percent or so to about $25. Now Rosetta Stone is profitable and delivered net income of $13.9 million on revenue of $209 million for 2008, but Facebook has insane growth figures and is close enough to break even to garner interest.
Surely if Rosetta Stone can go public in a crappy market a high-growth 200 million user strong company like Facebook can.