Facebook’s looming IPO – it could be Bono’s ‘Beautiful (pay) Day’

1 Feb 2012

U2 frontman Bono

All eyes are on Facebook’s initial public offer (IPO) prospectus today. The company is understood to be seeking to raise between US$5bn and US$10bn. Irish rock star Bono’s venture capital firm Elevation Partners has a 1.5pc stake in Facebook.

Facebook’s IPO is one of the most hotly anticipated flotations in the history of the technology industry and with its 800m users worldwide – tipped to reach 1bn by August this year – it is a veritable media powerhouse with a valuation of between US$80bn and US$100bn. Not bad for a hacking exercise that began in a dorm room in Harvard in 2003.

Figures reported before Christmas indicated Facebook was hurtling towards a net income for 2011 of a stunning US$1bn based on US$4bn in revenues.

Between January and September 2011, Facebook racked up revenues of US$2.5bn and a net income of US$714m. According to the reported figures, Facebook by the end of September had assets of US$5.6bn and US$3.5bn of cash in the bank. It had an operating cashflow of US$1bn and shareholders equity stands at US$4.5bn.

Employees of Facebook hold 30pc in the company while founder Mark Zuckerberg holds 24pc of the company’s stock.

Ireland’s own rocker Bono from rock band U2 is set to enjoy a Beautiful (pay) Day when Facebook goes public. The rock star is one of the lead investors in Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm that spent more than €156m for a 1.5pc stake in the social network.

Elevation has seen its stake increase more than sevenfold in just more than two years. The shares are now worth between €1.1bn and €2bn.

Other investors include Digital Sky Technologies (10pc), Accel Partners (8pc), Dustin Moskowitz (6pc), Eduardo Saverin (5pc), Sean Parker (4pc), Goldman Sachs clients (3pc), Microsoft (1.3pc), Peter Thiel (3pc), Greylock Partners (1.4pc), Meritech Capital Partners (1.6pc), Chris Hughes (1pc), Li Ka-shing (0.75pc), Interpublic Group (0.5pc) and Goldman Sachs (0.8pc).

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years