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Facebook IPO poised to be America's biggest ever

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Reuters

(Read caption) The Facebook IPO draws nigh.

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Yesterday Facebook estimated it would sell shares of the company for between $28 to $35 – enough for a valuation of between $77 billion and $96 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. To put that in perspective, Facebook is about to be the most valuable US company ever to go public: United Parcel Service, by comparison, heretofore the record holder, went public in 1999 with a valuation of $60.2 billion. 

"Many people want to own this unique company, and it has the momentum," Kathy Smith of Renaissance Capital told USA Today. She's right: Facebook has grown at an astonishingly rapid clip since it launched in 2004 in a Harvard dorm room – first to a quarter million users, then a half million, and now, in 2012, to 900 million. Smart money is on the site cresting a billion users before the year is out. 

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