It's the most highly anticipated initial public offering in recent memory, but will the ticker symbol FB live up to the hype? Annika Pergament talked to industry experts about the buzz and potential bumps in the road ahead once Facebook goes public.
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UNITED STATES -- The excitement has been building for months. Now Facebook's meteoric rise is about hits its peak as the company goes public. And Wall Street is bracing for the big day.
“Google, I remember was the last time there was this amount of buzz and its exceeding even the Google buzz,” said Ben Willis of Sunrise Securities.
Demand is so strong, that it's pushed up the initial offering price of the stock, boosting Facebook's estimated value to upwards of $100 billion, more than McDonalds or Citigroup. But until the trading session is underway Friday, only a select few can get in on the action.
“The vast majority of the participants of the IPO will be on the institutional side, or at least high net worth individuals,” said Willis.
That's until the shares open for trading on the NASDAQ, the home of tech stocks, where Facebook will be identified with the ticker FB. Then small investors can get a piece of the pie and Willis says the interest the stock is generating could be good for the market as whole.
Wills said, “Buying a stock like Facebook's gives them that exposure and I think that's positive for the broader trend that people will start to look at their portfolios and realize that they need to own more stocks.”
But for Facebook, it also means additional scrutiny and questions about whether the social networking site can hold on to the momentum.
“Unless they launch Facebook Moon or Facebook Jupiter anytime soon, they're pretty much stuck with a finite number of people using Facebook. That being said they need to come up with new ways to monetize the people they have online,” said Angel Investor Peter Shankman.
Also under the microscope CEO Mark Zuckerberg who will still retain more than 50 percent of voting rights. Investors will be closely watching how he steers this giant, so it doesn't go the way of one-time tech darlings like AOL or MySpace.
Shankman said, “He's also very, very smart and one of the things he did that's probably the smartest move he made, he's lined his bench with some of the smartest people in the industry.”
And while the company's future may be impossible to predict, one thing seems certain.
Shankman said, “They're gonna break a lot of records on Friday. As an institutional investor, I would invest in it, I would keep an eye on it.”