Facebook Frenzy Peaks With $100bn Flotation
The frenzy of hype and excitement surrounding the flotation of Facebook will peak as its shares go on offer in the biggest flotation of an internet-based company in history.
The social network turned multinational corporation will be floated on the New York based Nasdaq exchange at $38 (£24) a share - a price that values the company at $100bn (£63bn).
From 11am Eastern Time (4pm UK time) the market will determine the share price and value of the company.
Much coverage has focused on the huge fortunes a handful of Facebook's early friends will make, a group comprising a graffiti artist, a rock star and the college buddies of founder Mark Zuckerberg.
But from this point the story of Facebook could become far more corporately conventional.
Facebook will be subject to the same scrutiny and pressures as any company.
Analyst Max Wolff told Sky News: "It now has to grow into that valuation and live up to it."
Mr Wolff said what has been called a social movement has in reality always been a company in recent years "professionally managed by longstanding professionals, even if it has a mascot founder out front."
But it will now be treated as a corporation beholden to its shareholders and investors, who will demand improving performance quarter after quarter.
And that is the big challenge. Most observers agree Facebook has plenty of potential for more growth. The question is, can it grow fast enough to justify its astronomical valuation?
Facebook has enjoyed unprecedented success but is based on one idea, the mission to connect people better. Its founders must now show they have plenty more tricks up their sleeves.
Google for instance launched essentially as a search engine but has diversified in many different directions, from cloud computing to self-driving cars.
Optimists say the key to what sets Facebook apart cannot be found in its share prospectus or through spreadsheet analysis of performance figures.
What makes its different is its ability to engage people, to draw them in, make them participate and share their information.
Facebook supporters say we ain't seen nothing yet, and only with the massive infusion of cash this flotation brings will it be able to deliver on its full potential.