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Facebook CEO: IPO 'years out' from now

In a discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg douses Wall Street hopes for an imminent payday.

SAN FRANCISCO--If you listened carefully, Wall Street issued a collective groan late today. That's when Facebook's CEO very publicly doused speculation about an imminent initial public offering.

"I'm not saying it's never going to happen," said Mark Zuckerberg. "But it's definitely years out."

Zuckerberg made his comments while speaking with John Battelle to lead off the Web 2.0. Summit which got underway here today.

What with all the hype and frenzy surrounding Facebook, Zuckerberg not surprisingly attracted a spillover audience crowding into the main ballroom of this city's Palace Hotel, an elegant throwback which opened its doors in 1875 (which wasn't all that long after the California Gold Rush ended.)

As co-host of the three-day event, Battelle tried--with some success--to draw Zuckerberg out of his shell during the course of an hour question-and-answer session. But when it came to getting Facebook's founder to comment on the rumors about either a forthcoming sale or IPO, Battelle took a called strike three.

"Well, you have years before that event," Zuckerberg said.