Facebook officially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on Wednesday. The company said in SEC documents that it is seeking to raise US$5 billion in the IPO, a placeholder number that outside observers said is likely to change before the IPO actually takes place. When all is said and done, the IPO could value the company between $75 billion and $100 billion, making it the largest tech IPO in history.
One of the things we found particularly interesting came in a letter to potential shareholders penned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In that letter, according to The Wall Street Journal, he said that his company would seek to build new products rather than turning Facebook’s focus towards maximizing revenue based on existing products.
“We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in the letter. “These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits.”
This strongly echoes the business philosophy of the late Steve Jobs, who often said that Apple’s job was to build great products rather than focus on profits, and that by doing so, the profits would follow. He was highly critical of the idea of focusing on profit for profit’s sake.
According to Walter Isaacson’s biography of the tech icon, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg was one of the Silicon Valley executives that Mr. Jobs spent time with in the final months of his life, reportedly to try and impart some of his philosophy and experience to those execs. It’s possible that this meeting played a part in the philosophy expressed above, though it’s also possible that Mr. Zuckerberg reached the same conclusions on his own.
In any event, the Facebook IPO is hotly anticipated and has been closely watched over the last 12-18 months. It is currently set to take place sometime in the spring of 2012.
Google currently holds the record for an IPO that valued the company at US$23.9 billion at the time of the IPO, and Facebook is quite likely to blow past that record several times over. Google’s opening price was set at $85 per share—today, Google, which closed at $580.83, up $0.72 (+0.12%), has a market capitalization of $149.8 billion.