Report: Facebook to Consider IPO or Financial Disclosure

Facebook will begin to publicly disclose its financial information or sell stock in an initial public offering by April 2012, according to a news report from The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook, a privately held company, has offered the 2012 timeline in a memo it is distributing to potential investors, the Journal reported. The social-networking website will reach a 500-shareholder limit this year, after which it must begin publicly disclosing financial information under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules, the investor memo said.

Earlier this week, news reports said Goldman Sachs had invested US$450 million and Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies $50 million in Facebook. About the same time, the SEC opened an inquiry into private share trading at Facebook and three other tech companies, according to news reports.

A Facebook spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on a potential IPO.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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