Facebook IPO coming in late May? A breathless world awaits

Social networking giant reportedly hoping for spring public offering

The greatest Internet IPO in the history of Internet IPOs could be gracing investors with its greatness by Memorial Day weekend.

Anonymous sources have anonymously told All Things Digital's Kara Swisher that Facebook's long-anticipated and incredibly hyped initial public offering is "now likely to come in the third week of May."

(Also see: Did Facebook just bury the 'Facebook Fatigue' news?)

That, however, is with no Groupon-like blundering. Groupon filed last June 2 with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public, but SEC questions about how the daily-deals site counts revenue, along with ill-advised statements by the company's co-founders regarding its prospects that arguably violated the SEC's quiet-period rules, delayed Groupon's ticker debut until November 4.

Usually it takes no more than four months from the time a company files its S-1 to when it begins selling shares. Last year professional social networking site LinkedIn went public in mid-May, less than four months after it filed. But Zynga, like Groupon, took more than five months from its S-1 filing on July 1 to its Nasdaq debut on December 16.

Given that the third week in May is just four months away and Facebook has yet to file its registration statement with the SEC, I don't think we'll see the IPO until June, unless Mark Zuckerberg is standing in line with his paperwork at the SEC IPO submission window in Washington as we speak, chewing on a raw leg of freshly hand-killed lamb. But I'm just guessing, like the anonymous sources. You never know how the SEC review process will unfold.

One thing we don't have to guess about is how stupendous the Facebook IPO will be. Totally objective sources have told prospective marks eager investors that the social networking giant may raise $10 billion in the public offering and could have a valuation of $100 billion, or twice the current market value of the sun.

Wait. My anonymous sources tell me that in the 12 hours since All Things Digital's story was published, Facebook's estimated value has increased by another 15 bazillion dollars.

Can you tell I'm slightly cynical about this?

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