Facebook Could Bring in $1 Billion in Profit This Year

As part of the offering documents for Goldman Sachs' Facebook fund, some of the social networks' internal financial figures have been released to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. As I wrote yesterday, Facebook is making more money than everyone thought it was, bringing in about $200 million in profit in 2009 with a very high net profit margin for a young company. GigaOm's Mathew Ingram looked a little closer at some of the numbers and made an argument for how Facebook could bring in $1 billion in profit this year.

The New York Times, meanwhile, has similar figures in its report for 2009, based on sources close to the Goldman offering -- but it says that those same sources confirmed the $2-billion revenue figure for 2010, and that the financial documents provided also showed a profit for the year of $400 million. That puts the company's profit margin at about 20 percent for last year, down somewhat from 25 percent the year before but still sharply higher than many analysts have been projecting for the social network.

Estimating financial results for a fast-growing company like Facebook is always difficult, since so much is unknown, but if the figures provided by the WSJ and the NYT are correct, then the network saw its revenues climb by about 160 percent in 2010 and its profits doubled. Continuing that kind of growth would result in revenue of more than $5 billion this year, and assuming the profit margins stays at 20 percent result in profits close to $1 billion. Could Facebook continue growing at that rate and maintain its margins? Some believe it could -- and clearly Goldman Sachs is betting that it will, if it has decided to pump $1.5 billion into the company and possibly take it public.

Read the full story at GigaOm.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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