Facebook is unabashedly the most popular website on the Internet, dominating total time spent online and coming in a close second in total overall web traffic. As such, news that Facebook would finally issue an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of stock sent investors swooning like we haven't seen since 2004, when a little outfit called Google first issued its own public stock. (Google, by the by, is the reigning champ in total web traffic that Facebook has yet to usurp.)
Now, Facebook is not Google, and drawing comparisons between the two is a tenuous exercise -- not least because Facebook is developing its IPO with the knowledge of how Google's IPO went down. For example, there have as yet been no ultra-nerdy math jokes hidden in the Facebook IPO filings. More germane to the financial sector, Facebook is looking at a fairly traditional IPO as opposed to the unconventional "Dutch auction" sale that Google employed, which allowed the search engine's stock to be bought by any accredited trading house from day one.
Put more simply, Facebook's existing investors and private stockholders are going to reap the biggest benefits from the IPO, and it's extremely unlikely that any of us common folk are going to get a shot at buying the stock before its share price skyrockets to record levels. The big winners from the IPO are Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs's clients, a handful of venture capital funds, and Facebook's three cofounders: Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Mark Zuckerberg.
That said, three individual investors stand to make a substantial amount of money, despite not being founders -- and in the cases of two of them, not being employees -- of Facebook.
WHAT THREE FACEBOOK NON-FOUNDERS STAND TO PROFIT THE MOST FROM THE COMPANY'S IPO?Get the answer.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.