The Wisdom of Facebook's Delayed IPO

Mark Zuckerberg is in no hurry--but investors are

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Note to eager Facebook investors: don't get your hopes up yet. In a detailed Wall Street Journal profile, Mark Zuckerberg says he's in "no rush" to take his company public. Facebook has grown its user base to 400 million and many predicted 2010 was the year of the company's IPO. Not so. Analysts are now thinking 2011. Here's what industry observers are saying about the 25-year-old's cautious strategy:

  • Zuckerberg Can Afford to Be Patient, writes Stan Schroeder at Mashable: "While estimates about Facebook's future earnings vary wildly, Facebook recently turned cash flow positive, which is a big deal for a company many once thought was pure vaporware. As long as Facebook keeps it that way, it can calculate and delay the IPO for as long as it deems necessary."
  • Don't Expect an IPO Anytime Soon, writes Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch: "[Zuckerberg] doesn't sound all that keen to take his company public ...With regard to Facebook's IPO, the article discusses Zuckerberg's penchant for 'delayed gratification', which he says he has a special capacity for. And because Zuckerberg still maintains firm control over the company, and when it will IPO, delayed gratification seems to be the law of the land."
  • Not Going Public Is Smart, applauds Kara Swisher at All Things Digital: "Looking at the stock performance of four big digital companies so far this year, there's not been much upside yet for Facebook to jump into." She notes that shares are down at Yahoo!, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
  • Expect Big Things When IPO Does Happen, writes the WSJ's Jessica Vascellaro in a follow-up piece: "Investors currently buying or looking to buy Facebook shares anticipate the company will go public in 2011 with a market capitalization of between $35 billion to $40 billion, according to people familiar with their thinking ... Some analysts are even more bullish, suggesting that Facebook could be worth $59 billion in 2011 and more than $100 billion by 2015."
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