Social networking giant Facebook – which will later today launch a new email service – has overtaken eBay to become the third-largest US internet company by valuation, it emerged today.
According to Bloomberg, Facebook’s stock is trading at more than US$16 on SecondMarket Inc, an exchange for shares of privately held companies, putting its worth at about US$41bn.
This is higher than eBay’s US$39bn valuation on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Facebook trails Amazon.com, which has a US$74bn valuation. The leader of the pack is Google, which has a valuation of US$192.9bn.
When will Facebook fully IPO?
It emerged last month that one of Facebook’s largest backers, Mail.ru, is to offer City investors the chance to take an indirect stake in the site through the London listing of a subsidiary worth up to US$5bn.
Mail.ru hired Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley to run the listing. Mail.ru’s largest investors are Alisher Usmanov, the Russian oligarch and Arsenal’s second biggest shareholder and two associates: the group’s chief executive Yuri Milner and Russian businessman Grigory Finger.
However, a full IPO by Facebook could still be years away. In late September, Facebook board member, PayPal co-founder and arch venture capitalist Peter Thiel suggested it would be 2012 "at the earliest" before Facebook would be ready to IPO.