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Facebook: Should it remain private?

Most companies go public for world domination. Should Facebook bother with an IPO given it already has conquered the Web in many respects?
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Facebook's annual revenue is reportedly approaching $1 billion. It's the one of the biggest sites on the Web. The company has more than 500 million users. And Facebook is in the black and has plenty of capital. In other words, Facebook has what many public companies want. Why bother with an initial public offering?

That question rattles around after perusing a Reuters story on Facebook's 2009 revenue. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that Facebook revenue was about $800 million. Facebook was profitable. And we all know Facebook has the Web right where it wants it.

Reuters says: That sort of performance is likely to whet the appetites of investors keen for a public share float, despite the company's insistence that an IPO is not a near-term priority.

In a perfect world, Facebook would stay private. Who needs the Sarbanes-Oxley, the quarterly conference calls where Mark Zuckerberg will squirm more than he did at D8 and the general hassle of being more visible?

Of course, Facebook has venture capitalists who aren't likely to sit back and collect dividends so an IPO is a foregone conclusion.

But there's a big paradox with Facebook. Most companies go public to conquer the world. In most respects, Facebook already has. What exactly will Facebook do differently as a public company?

Also: Facebook topic page

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