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Facebook IPO set for Q1 of 2012: report

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Newscom

(Read caption) Facebook IPO rumors continue to percolate. The latest: Facebook will go public in the first quarter of 2012. Here, a user thumbs past a Facebook app on an Apple iPhone.

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Facebook is going public, probably.

So say the folks over at CNBC, who put the Facebook IPO date at the first quarter of 2012, and estimate that the valuation of the most-popular social network in the world could top an extraordinary $100 billion. (Take a moment to wrap your head around that number. Done? OK.) Facebook is keeping mum on the rumors, but CNBC reporter Kate Kelly points out that reps for the company have already called an IPO "inevitable."

Some of the impetus behind the IPO can be apparently traced directly to a debate over employee compensation. "Early last year, Facebook put curbs on employees’ ability to sell their company shares privately to other investors – a move that may now be prompting employees to quit Facebook in order to be able to monetize their shares," Kelly writes.

If Facebook did go public, of course, employees could sell their stock more easily.

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