Facebook may take company public in May

Reports create a buzz online that social network may file paperwork for IPO in next month

Reports were circulating Tuesday that Facebook will launch its initial public offering in May.

The Internet has been abuzz since an initial report came out on All Things D, citing unnamed sources, that the social network's long-anticipated IPO is expected in the third week of May.

In November, there were reports that Facebook was aiming to file its IPO paperwork before the end of 2011, with the goal of going public between April and June.

All Things D reported that if Facebook is to make a May IPO, executives would need to file the paperwork within the next month, noting that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission generally takes three to four months to review filings.

Facebook, which has a reported 800 million users worldwide, is expected to raise about $10 billion in its IPO.

The social networking company said it won't comment on speculation about an IPO.

"This could be the biggest IPO we've seen in years," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, in a previous interview. "There definitely is value in communities and being able to facilitate conversation. With 800 million users, that's about 10% of the world population connected through Facebook."

A few social networking companies, such as Groupon and LinkedIn, have gone public in recent months. However, the company that investors and industry analysts are waiting on is Facebook.

The social network, which now has enough industry power to compete with Google, is largely thought to be a bellwhether for the staying power and investment potential of the social networking arena in general.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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