Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Facebook (Eye)PO: Tracking the Truth of the Biggest Deal of Web 2.0

As AllThingsD.com wrote two weeks ago it would be — Facebook is close to filing its documents for a long-expected public offering that is on track take place in late May.

The Wall Street Journal said last week that the filing would come Wednesday, although sources said that timing could shift a day or even two later, as the social networking site readies the IPO prospectus it will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But here’s one thing that’s clearly on its way for the much-anticipated Facebook IPO: There will be no lack of media hype, elaborate obfuscation by rivals and a plethora of inaccurate hoo-hah that is about to be unleashed upon the world, related to the financial transaction that is expected to be one of the biggest deals in tech in a while.

(I’d imagine that the crafty Google+ peeps are now hard at work on a list of trouble it could make for Facebook during its quiet period.)

In that spirit — via what I am calling the Facebook (Eye)PO Tracker — I’ll be shining some much-needed light on some of the hijinks if I can, going back to stories to see how close they were to reality.

Mine too!

To begin, let’s start with the many reports last week about the delay in the clearing of Facebook share trades on private markets that linked the action to the upcoming IPO.

Although I like conspiracies as much as anyone — not so. To begin, this has happened to Facebook previously, so it is not as unusual as had been reported. And, sources added, this time the temporary hold on private market trades waiting to be approved was simply due to a software upgrade at its law firm at Fenwick & West.

On deck for this week for later checking will be two stories now making the rounds: Facebook’s reported $100 billion valuation; its ticker symbol and market; and which big investment bank will get the coveted “lead left” underwriting spot in the IPO.

As to the first, which everyone and their mother is repeating, sources tell me that the number will be much lower that $100 billion figure being thrown around, as well as the raise that has been reported to be $10 billion. Think less.

Extra points to the Journal, which has hedged its bet with an impossible-to-be-wrong, covering-all-bases $75 billion to $100 billion guess, a range you can actually drive a truck through.

The ticker symbol and where Facebook lives — Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange — will be interesting too. The bulk of the reports indicate that it will be FB on the Nasdaq.

I was hoping it would be FACE, but that is already taken by Physicians Formula Holdings. Here’s a cute story on some ideas, including: SOCL (taken), GEEK (taken) and LIKE and FRND (not taken!).

As to the third, reports pretty much cast the banker selection as some sort of romantic soap opera. In one report by CNBC, Facebook is apparently angry at Morgan Stanley for leaking info about the IPO, and might bolt; in others, it’s Facebook pissed at Goldman Sachs, for screwing up a previous private investment placement.

We’ll see, but I’d expect Facebook to go where it gets the strongest retail coverage (Morgan Stanley). In any case, both banks will be well represented.

Tune in for more action — including how big Facebook’s business actually turns out to be, compared to what’s been speculated. With real numbers about to released, anybody’s guess will no longer be that.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google