Facebook to File for IPO Next Week?

According to a story published Friday in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is preparing to file registration papers for its long-anticipated initial public offering. Few details were offered, except that Morgan Stanley will serve as lead underwriter for the IPO, with Goldman Sachs also playing a major role. According to the report, the world’s largest social network will be looking to raise about $10 billion at a valuation between $75 and $100 billion.

At $10 billion, Facebook’s IPO would be one of the largest of all time. In the tech sector, the only IPOs that have been bigger were AT&T’s 2000 IPO, which raised $10.62 billion, and those for Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and Australia’s Telstra. Overall, a $10 billion offering would rank as the seventh-largest IPO ever launched on a US exchange, and the largest since General Motors raised $18 billion in November 2010.

Word of a Facebook IPO is likely to get Silicon Valley investors excited, as speculation about the company going public has been circulating for months, and investors have gotten their hopes up on a number of false alarms. Earlier this week, Facebook halted secondary trades of its private shares for three days, fueling speculation that the IPO might be launched during that time. It didn’t happen, and trading is scheduled to resume Monday. When Facebook does finally go public, it will be one of the most anticipated IPOs in recent memory.