Facebook Tries to Grow up Ahead of Expected 2012 IPO

6:54 AM PST 12/22/2011 by Georg Szalai
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The social network's goal is to be a blue-chip company.


Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook has spent the last 18 months preparing itself to look and act more like a grown-up corporation with the goal of making the social network, which is planning to go public, a blue-chip company, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"There was a period in Microsoft's evolution where they said, we want to put a computer on everyone's desk," the paper quoted the CEO as saying in a recent interview. "That's the way that I want to run Facebook...We want to be operating in a way that we're working towards this longer vision of where we think the world should be."

The social networking giant plans to file for an IPO that would raise as much as $10 billion early in 2012 and go public in the second quarter, according to the Journal.

Since last year, Facebook executives have drawn up dummy scripts for quarterly earnings conference calls and addressed imaginary questions from analysts to prepare, the Journal said. And CFO David Ebersman has  audited Facebook's financial statements each quarter, it added.

In another sign of how the company and its CEO are growing up, Zuckerberg's trademark Adidas flip-flops have been switched out for Brooks running shoes, the paper said. He even wore a tie and sports coat when President Obama visited the company in April.

The Journal said that interviews with Zuckerberg and others inside the eight-year-old company show that Facebook is trying to emulate the influence and staying power of the biggest tech companies rather than a start-up.

"The missing piece that we haven't seen yet is reliability," IPO consultant Lise Buyer told the Journal. "The blue chip stocks are the ones that people talk about belonging in widows and orphans funds. Historically, technology IPOs don't make that list. Because of its scale, Facebook could be different."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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