Facebook, the site, is huge by any metric. By the end of the year it will probably be the biggest website on the planet, in terms of unique visitors, time spent and so on. But Facebook, the company, is still relatively small among the likes of Google, Microsoft and even Yahoo.
Revenue is on the rise, but is nowhere close to what it could be which might explain why Facebook is not keen on going public just yet. According to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, a Facebook initial public offer (IPO) should not be expected any time sooner than 2012.
The reason for this late date, the people cited say, is that CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t feel Facebook is ready for the scrutiny that comes with being public company. On the one hand, he wants to strengthen the company, add even more users beyond the 500 million users mark it recently confirmed and, more importantly, drive up revenue. On the other hand, Zuckerberg may not be ready to lead a publicly traded company which means having to deal with a board and a lot less freedom in strategy and investments.
Analysts and people in the tech or financial fields have been speculating on a possible IPO for at least a couple of years now, but Facebook has shown little interest in the matter. It’s understandable too, while the site has been adding users like there’s no tomorrow, revenue generation hasn’t been ramping up at the same rate.
Revenue for 2010 may go beyond $1 billion for the first time at Facebook, the latest estimates say $1.4 billion. That’s roughly double the revenue Facebook is said to have generated last year. Google is on track to make at least $25 billion this year. At the same time, Zynga, the social gaming superstar, is expected to bring in anywhere between $500 million to $800 million this year. Neither Zyngan or Facebook disclose revenue numbers.