Reid Hoffman: Facebook to Go IPO in Early 2012

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LinkedIn cofounder and Facebook investor Reid Hoffman said that he expects Facebook's initial public offering will be next year.

"I suspect that Mark [Zuckerberg] will choose to go public because the company has to put in a lot of financial work in order to make the necessary filings and so he might as well make sure he benefits employees and ultimately the company from the level of work that’s already involved," he told the Sunday Telegraph. “Going public would benefit Facebook in lots of ways - namely having public currency to do acquisitions. So Mark [Zuckerberg] might as well get the benefit as well as the cost. Given that logic - I would suspect that some time in first half of next year, he will engage in the IPO process.”

Facebook has been mulling over an IPO for the last year, including delaying it to avoid a mass exodus of employees, but the startup can't wait indefinitely. A Securities and Exchange Commission's requirement that private companies with more than 500 investors publicly disclose financial information may ultimately force Facebook's hand -- especially when most analysts believe the company may have already hit that number.

So, in essence, Facebook cofounder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg must file paperwork with the SEC by April -- be it disclosing more than 500 investors or taking the company public. Hoffman's money is on Facebook going public, and we think it's a pretty sure bet.

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