Facebook is planning its much-publicised IPO for late 2012, so employees can concentrate on product developments for now.
All the talk of an expected massive IPO has the employees clamouring for their slice of the pie, people close to the company told the Financial Times, and chief exec Mark Zuckerberg wants them beavering away instead of dreaming of dollar signs.
Analysts widely put the potential value of a Facebook IPO at around $70bn to $80bn and, according to these people, some employees are planning to cash out in the offering. Since Zuckerberg wants to hang onto all his staff for upcoming products, he's keeping the IPO off the table until next September or later.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Reg that as a private company, the social network did not comment on financials or IPO.
There could also be a more mundane reason for holding off on going public, the same reason cited in the recent delays of tech companies Groupon and Zynga: the market is just too volatile right now, and may be for some time.
Companies tread a fine line in deciding when to go public, needing to jump at a time when interest in the company is high, but not when general poor sentiment in the market will devalue its stock because of a bad economic climate rather than on the company's own merits.
Facebook is currently not required to announce anything it doesn't want to publicly, hence its lack of comment on subjects like a possible IPO and its revenues. However, information always seems to leak out, just recently, an "insider" revealed that its 2011 first half revenues had doubled to $1.6bn.
Soon the social network won't have the option of keeping its revenues to itself, as it recently passed the 500 shareholder mark, which according to SEC regulations means it has to file public financial results in the first quarter of the next year.
That would put Facebook's first financial results in April 2012, which had led to a lot of speculation the company would go public between now and then, while market interest is high. ®