Social not-working site Facebook has announced that it will not be flogging its shares to the great unwashed until next year.
It had been expected that the site would be going public later in 2012 than expected. According to the Financial Times, the reason is so employees can focus on developing products for the social networking website.
However this is probably a bit of spin, as we are talking about a few months difference at the most, and it is hard to see how employees work on developing new products could be slowed by an IPO.
True, some of them are going to get huge payouts and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to delay an IPO until September or later in 2012 so employees can stay “focused on product developments rather than a pay-out.”
But Facebook employees are always going to be producing new products so if this reason was valid, then Facebook would never make its IPO.
One possible reason is that Zuckerburg is worried about market conditions with the US and EU possibly headed for recession. If the economy is in the doledrums the company will not make as much money from any IPO. Facebook has specifically ruled this out as a reason for the delay.
Some critics suggest Facebook not having an IPO is one of its strengths, as it can operate in the shadows and is not obliged to release anything.
Another possibility is that Facebook’s revenue is going rather well. Reuters thinks that it has managed to double to $1.6 billion in the first half of 2011. This is pushing the value of the company upwards to roughly $80 billion.
If the outfit has shares there will be pressure for it to make dividends and Zuckerburg might want to use the money for other projects first.