Facebook raises USD 1.5 billion, valued at USD 50 billion

Facebook raises USD 1.5 billion, valued at USD 50 billion

"Our business continues to perform well, and we are pleased to be able to bolster our cash position with this new financing," Facebook chief financial officer David Ebersman said in a statement yesterday.

"With this investment completed, we now have greater financial flexibility to explore whatever opportunities lie ahead."

Facebook said US investment bank Goldman Sachs completed an oversubscribed offering to its non-US clients in a fund that invested USD 1 billion in Facebook Class A common stock.

Russia's Digital Sky Technologies, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and funds managed by Goldman Sachs meanwhile invested USD 500 million in Facebook Class A common stock at the same USD 50 billion valuation.

Facebook also said it expected to surpass the ceiling of 500 shareholders sometime this year and would start filing public financial reports no later than April 30, 2012.

US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules require firms with 500 or more shareholders of record in a given type of stock to publicly disclose certain financial information.

Facebook, the world's top social network with nearly 600 million members, said it had "no immediate plans" for the newly raised funds, indicating it "will continue investing to build and expand its operations."

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs, citing "intense media coverage," said it was excluding US clients from the private offering of shares in Facebook.

"Goldman Sachs concluded that the level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a US private placement under US law," it said.

US securities law bars public promotion of private offerings and the Facebook deal reportedly attracted the SEC's attention.

Facebook has been in the spotlight since US media revealed earlier this month that Goldman had invested $450 million in the company, alongside a $50 million investment by Digital Sky Technologies.

With this fresh investment, Facebook has a bigger valuation than companies like Boeing or Time Warner.

Yet its annual revenue, primarily based on advertising, is estimated at $2 billion, compared with Boeing's USD 64.62 billion and Time Warner's USD 26.5 billion.

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