Facebook plans to begin a roadshow to pitch its stock to investors on Monday, clearing the way for an initial public offering on May 18, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Mark Zuckerberg plans to appear at some meetings but other top Facebook execs will be handling most of the roadshow, the sources say. The closely-watched IPO is expected to value Facebook at up to $100 billion and raise up to $10 billion, making it the biggest in Silicon Valley history.
"I have not seen as broad-based interest in an IPO since Google. Investor demand is immense," an analyst at research firm IPO Boutique tells Reuters. "I expect a roadshow that will rival all roadshows where investors will be turned away at the door." But the timing has mystified some analysts, including Darcy Travlos at Forbes, who believes Facebook should wait a few months to show investors that slowing revenue growth can be turned around and the company's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram was a wise move. "Going public now raises the question: Is this as good as it gets?" she notes.