IPO Anticipation: Facebook Shareholders Counting Their Eggs

Facebook’s highly anticipated IPO is expected to raise $100 billion, even topping the debuts of Internet giants Netscape and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).  Though no official paperwork has been filed, sources close to the company say the IPO will take place in 2012. The sale could create 1,000 millionaires in Silicon Valley.

Facebook shareholders are already planning for their big windfalls, even though securities regulations usually mandate that stock options cannot be executed for at least six months. Reuters quoted a former employee who joined the company shortly after it was founded in 2005 who said, “There’s been discussions of sort of bucket list ideas that people are putting together of things they always wanted to do and now we’ll be able to do it.”  Plans reportedly range from booking a seat on the famed maiden voyage to space on Virgin Galactic to travelling to Mexico and excavating an untouched portion of the Mayan ruins.

Although ownership figures have not been disclosed, it is apparent that the early investors such as Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel will receive the lion’s share. Mark Zuckerberg owns about 20% of the company himself.

But Facebook’s employees will not be left without benefit. The company’s employees are often gifted stock options and restricted stock shares in addition to their salaries and it is estimated that of its 3,000 employees, almost a third could become millionaires.