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Facebook set to file for flotation

Social networking site expected to offer a 10% stake, raising up to bn and valuing the company at 0bn

Facebook could fire the starting gun on the biggest-ever technology company flotation by filing papers for an initial public offering as early as next week.

Morgan Stanley is close to being picked as the lead underwriter for the social networking firm’s stock market listing, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The company is understood to be looking at a valuation of between bn and 0bn (£63bn).

Facebook is expected to offer a 10% stake, raising up to bn in an exercise which could also make millions in fees for banks and other advisers. The appointment of Morgan Stanley as lead book-runner would be a blow to Goldman Sachs, which was seen as the frontrunner after arranging a .5bn private offering of Facebook shares in January last year.

The float would dwarf Google’s 2004 listing, which is still the largest American internet stock market float. The search engine giant raised .9bn, based on a valuation for the entire company of bn.

Expectations of an imminent filing with the US securities and exchange commission, the precursor to any public offering, have been high since Wednesday, when Facebook suspended trading of its shares on the private secondary market.

The California company’s law firm, Fenwick & West, said it would not approve transactions until Friday, the end of the week, according to US reports. Suspensions are normal practice before public offerings, to limit insider dealing until all the information about the company is made public. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds