Facebook made a much-anticipated status update Wednesday as the Internet social network went public eight years after CEO Mark Zuckerberg started the service at Harvard University.
That means anyone with the right amount of cash will be able to own part of a Silicon Valley icon that quickly transformed from dorm-room startup to cultural touchstone.
If its initial public offering of stock makes enough friends on Wall Street, Facebook will probably make its stock-market debut in three or four months as one of the world's most valuable companies. Facebook, which is now based in Menlo Park, Calif., hopes to list its shares under the ticker symbol, "FB," on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Stock Market.
In its regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook Inc. indicated it hopes to raise $5 billion in its IPO. That would be the most for an Internet IPO since Google Inc. and its early backers raised $1.9 billion in 2004. The final amount will likely change as Facebook's bankers gauge the investor demand.
Joining corporate America's elite would give Facebook newfound financial clout as it tries to make its service even more pervasive and expand its audience of 845 million users. It also could help Facebook fend off an intensifying challenge from Google, which is looking to solidify its status as the Internet's most powerful company with a rival social network called Google+.