Is Facebook Really Worth $50 Billion?

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Ever since the Goldman deal valued Facebook at $50 billion, Wall Street analysts have been scrambling to explain how Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room side project became more valuable than Time Warner, the largest U.S. media company. Well, turns out not everyone agrees. Here's a pundit roundup of two Facebook believers and two naysayers:

  • It's Worth Every Penny, writes James Altucher at The Wall Street Journal. He compares Facebook's evolution to Google's:

- Of the three biggest websites: Facebook, Google, Yahoo--Facebook is the fastest growing
- People spend more time on Facebook than any other site.
- Facebook probably did about $2 billion in revenue in 2010.

The key stat: About a year before then went public, Google had $2 billion in trailing 12-month revenue. Now it has a $200 billion market cap and $30 billion in sales. Assuming Facebook goes public in a year, it’s right where Google was--but with faster growth.

  • I Agree, nods Nick Jackson at The Atlantic. He notes that Facebook is already bringing in $2 billion without even trying:

When you have one out of every 12 people in the world using your service, it doesn't really matter how much you make off of each one as long as you're making something. In addition, Facebook still hasn't shifted its focus to monetization. Despite a continued laser-eyed approach to growth, the company managed to bring in $2 billion in revenue in 2010, a significant amount more than than roughly $1.3 billion that eMarketer was predicting as recently as mid-August, and more than three times 2009 revenues of $665 million.

  • Are You Kidding? It's Way Overvalued  "After all, in May 2009, the company was valued at $10 billion," writes William Cohan at The New York Times." That's a big jump "for a company with a reported $2 billion in revenue and negligible profits. If General Electric, with 2010 revenue of around $150 billion, traded at a similar multiple of revenue, it would be worth $3.75 trillion instead of $200 billion."
  • I Would Not Invest, writes Duff McDonald at Fortune. He suggests the company has a weak business model and plateauing growth:

Facebook reached 500 million users in July. There's been no update since, even though the company had meticulously documented every new 50 million users to that point. Might the curve have crested? And let's not even talk about the fact that they don't really make much money per user--a few dollars a year at most. (Its estimated $2 billion in 2010 revenues would amount to $4 per user at that base.) I certainly haven't spent any money on the site, despite being a fairly regular visitor. And any advertiser who is trying to target me on the social network is wasting their money. But that's just me.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.