Facebook IPO reaps billions for private investors

Facebook has raised $16bn in its IPO, valuing it at $104bn. Accel, Greylock, Elevation, Goldman, Meritech and Millennium are among the firms with potential exits to celebrate.

It finally happened. 

Facebook shares will hit the public market Friday morning. The social media behemoth raised $16 billion in its IPO, and some of its earliest investors are poised to score extravagant returns as a result.  

The company priced at $38 per share, according to a statement. Facebook will trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol “FB”. 

The pricing values the company at $104 billion – the largest valuation of any US company to date, according to reports. 

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. 

Private equity and venture capital firms were some of the earliest supporters of Facebook. Their early stage investments will likely generate enormous multiples now that the company has held its IPO. 

Accel Partners, which invested $12.7 million in the company in 2005, held an 11.3 percent stake prior to the float. Facebook’s S-1 filing indicates that the firm may generate around $2 billion in a partial exit through the float if underwriters exercise their option to issue additional shares, though that could not be confirmed by the firm at press time. 

Accel declined to comment. 

Elevation Partners also scored big with Facebook. The shares it offered in the IPO are now worth between $175 million and $202 million, depending on the underwriter option. Remaining shares would be worth an additional $1.38 billion if the option is exercised. 

Goldman Sachs, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners are also major stakeholders in the company. There are also a number of investors, such as secondaries firm Millennium Technology Value Partners, that have amassed stakes in Facebook by purchasing shares from employees and other investors pre-IPO. 

Facebook raised its price range earlier this week after indicating it would price between $28 and $35 per share earlier this month. The increase is the result of very strong demand for shares in the social networking site, whose IPO has been highly anticipated for some time. 

Prior to Facebook formally announcing its intentions to go public, private holdings in the company drove a substantial amount of activity on the secondary market. Exchanges like SecondMarket and SharesPost relied heavily on investor interest generated by the site and ultimately changed their model to accommodate Facebook’s desire for more control over secondary offerings.