Morgan Stanley Poised to Nudge Out Goldman for Facebook IPO Win

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) may be set to snag the coveted role of lead underwriter for Facebook, with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) expected to grab another major spot. The IPO is expected to come as soon as Wednesday and could be valued at $75 billion to $100 billion. The winner will get not only biggest share of an estimated $220 million in fees, but will also claim a major coup — the Facebook IPO prospectus “lead left” role is a serious brass ring for investment banks.

Early projections a year ago put Goldman Sachs in the lead, following a deal Facebook made with Goldman and other firms to raise $500 million. The deal brought on a media frenzy and a reprimand from the SEC when Goldman tried to work out a private-placement for its clients, resulting in Goldman being limited to selling shares only abroad.

This left Facebook reportedly less-than-happy with Goldman, creating an opening for Morgan Stanley, whose tech group had ruled tech and internet IPOs in 2011.

The three biggest internet IPOs in the U.S. last year — Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) — all went with Morgan Stanley first, and Morgan Stanley had the world’s first and third biggest IPOs — Russia’s Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX) and China’s Renren (NYSE:RENN).