Social network giant goes public

POSTED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 5:04pm

With 900 million users, Facebook is a hit. Friday, that success gets tested on Wall Street.

About 241 million shares are expected to be up for sale at a starting price of $38 dollars per share. Hedge funds, mutual fund managers, and other institutional investors will be the first buyers.

They generally get first crack at IPOs, making it tougher for individual investors to get in on the action.

Some websites do specialize in helping single share investors, but the question is whether individuals should jump on day one.

CNBC analyst Jim Cramer isn't enamored with Facebook stock.

"Almost every single deal that has come public, descended, has gone down after the first day and you get burned if you come in and buy," he points out.

Several IPOs have seen marked declines in the past year, and with GM announcing earlier this
week it would no longer run paid ads on Facebook some analysts want more proof about the social network's long term business model.

Still, the appetite for Facebook stock is already big enough that founder Mark Zuckerberg
will become even richer Friday, and some of his employees will become millionaires overnight.

Zuckerberg is selling about 30 million shares of his Facebook stock, but he'll
will remain the company's largest shareholder.

Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist who invested half a million in Facebook in 2004, plans to sell
almost 17 million shares tomorrow, meaning he'll get something in the area of $640 million.

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