Facebook sets IPO price at $38 a share

Facebook stands to raise $16 billion in the largest Internet IPO in history -- almost 10 times what Google raised when it went public in 2004.

Let the show begin.

Facebook has set the price of tomorrow's IPO at $38 a share, after phenomenally strong demand from big money managers to get in on the biggest Internet IPO in history. The price gives Facebook a market value of $104 billion out of the gate, more than the stock market value of Amazon and about half that of Google's.

Facebook has raised $16 billion by selling 421.2 million shares. That's almost 10 times what Google raised when it went public in 2004, a deal that until now had been the record holder among Internet IPOs, according to data compiled by Renaissance Capital. The top U.S. IPO of all time is Visa, which raised $17.9 billion in March 2008.

Earlier this week, Facebook boosted its price range, from $28 to $35 a share to $34 to $38 a share.

This optimism comes even as big insiders -- investors Peter Thiel and Yuri Milner, among them -- just yesterday upped the number of shares they are selling in the offering because Facebook raised the price range.

And the news about the company recently has hardly been all positive. Facebook took a publicity hit this week when General Motors said it was pulling $10 million worth of Facebook ads because they weren't working. Last month, Facebook reported a weak first quarter , showing that growth is slowing. And the company has acknowledged that as of yet it has no way to make money from its biggest growth area -- mobile.

No matter. Investors don't want to hear any of that. The big boys have weighed in with their dollars, and tomorrow individual investors -- despite the obvious risk of getting in on day one -- will likely also pile in. After that, all bets are off.

 

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