Facebook may go public in 2012

Facebook may go public as early as 2012, a member of its Board of Directors has revealed.

The news is likely to excite many in the industry who are hoping to invest in the currently privately-owned company, which saw revenues in the regions of $800 million in 2009 alone.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and a member of Facebook’s Board of Directors, said that it was likely that Facebook would go public, but that it would not be until 2012 or after. 

“It probably will IPO at some point. The lesson from Google seems to be that you don’t go public until very late,” he told Reuters.

He qualified his remarks by saying that the decision would depend on Facebook achieving certain goals and financial targets and how things pan out over the next two years, but the suggestion was that it was only really a matter of time.

Facebook was established by Mark Zuckerberg and friends in 2004 while they were still in Harvard, quickly becoming one of the biggest successes of modern times, so much so that the world is about to be subjected to a film called The Social Network.

It has received financial backing from a number of companies, including Digital Sky Technologies and Microsoft, along with venture capital firms like Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners, but many more investors would like a slice of the pie.

The implications for Facebook going public are huge. Investors will have a bigger say in how things are done and what the future of the service is. Analysts believe Facebook has reached its peak in many regions, with half a billion users worldwide, so any potential shareholders in the future will be keen to see Facebook expand and diversify to ensure continued growth and profit.