What's Facebook Really Worth?

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Wall Street analysts and tech bloggers are still talking about the news of Facebook acquiring Instagram, holding a magnifying glass close to the deal to see if they might spot a clue about the imminently huge Facebook initial public offering.

The latest detail to leak potentially answers a big, big question: How much is Facebook worth? According to Evelyn Rusli at The New York Times, $104 billion. This is $29 billion more than the $75 billion valuation that was suggested by the Instagram purchase, a $1 billion deal that was approximately 30 percent cash and 70 percent stock.  "At $104 billion, the value is roughly in line with where the company has traded at times on the secondary market, where shares of the privately held company have been selling for as high as $40," writes Rusli.

Since Facebook's IPO is only about a month away, the difference in these two numbers could make or break some deals. Between now and then, Facebook's gargantuan team of 31 banks will be working out the details and picking the sweet spot in between overvaluing and undercutting the company's share price. We are not Wall Street analysts (thank God) but it seems like tossing out two radically different valuations provides a nice broad window for Facebook to make a good case on IPO day. Regardless of whether the company goes public at a $75 billion or a $104 billion valuation, we're sure Mark Zuckerberg will be pleased.

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