What Facebook’s IPO Will Reveal

The Menlo Park social company is expected to file to go public Wednesday.

Facebook is expected to file is S-1 paperwork for an initial public offering Wednesday but what does it mean to the average user of the social-networking company?

The company is expected to file for a $5 billion initial public offering at some point Wednesday.

The S-1 is the first step a private company takes with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to sell shares on the open market.

Shares of the Menlo Park-based company will not actually go on sale Wednesday.

Instead Facebook's filing will serve as a prospectus for potential investors who haven't had the opportunity to buy shares on the costly secondary market.

The shares likely won't go on sale for several weeks still.

What We Will Learn Wednesday:

An S-1 form is a brief eight page document but it has several important questions that each filing company is required to answer.

It is meant to give enough information for potential investors to determine whether it is worthy of his or her money.

Facebook will be asked to identify its potential competitors and what potential risk factors are. Recent IPOs, such as Zynga and Pandora, listed privacy regulation as a potential risk factor.

The company will also likely reveal its strategy moving forward and insights into its revenue numbers.

It is largely believed that Facebook has doubled its revenue to $1.6 billion in the first half half of last year. And the company is said to have a net income of about $500 billion.

It's those numbers that has some analysts predicting that Facebook could be one of the largest IPOs ever -- up to six times larger than Google's initial offering.

What We Won't Learn Wednesday:

While the S-1 form will give investors a good read into where Facebook is going, it won't necessarily reveal how high the stock price will open or just how much the company pays its executives.

But there are some reports that Facebook might do things a little differently than your average hot IPO.

The company is reportedly taking measures to make some of its shares available for average investors, who historically struggle to get a piece of a hot IPO.

Facebook also is not likely to reveal whether it will be traded on the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. But we do know that Facebook will trade under the initials FB.

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