The world’s largest online social network is expected to tap public markets for $10 billion in the coming months in an offering that will value the company at up to $100 billion, according to sources familiar with the planned IPO. It will be one of the biggest U.S. market debuts ever, and a prized trophy for the investment bankers seeking to win lead advisory roles.
That has set up a fierce competition on Wall Street, particularly between the presumed front-runners Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, which may offer their underwriting services for as little as 1 percent of gross proceeds, bankers and industry observers said.
That would be far less than the 7 percent fee that smaller deals typically fetch, or the 2 or 3 percent that large deals tend to command.
The Facebook IPO will be iconic,” said James Montgomery, chief executive of San Francisco-based investment bank Montgomery & Co, which advises tech companies on mergers, acquisitions and private placements.
Facebook can easily negotiate a 1 percent fee for the entire group of investment banks that will peddle its shares, Montgomery said, “much to the chagrin of the underwriters.”
Such a low fee is practically unheard of for investment banking deals, apart from the offerings of bailed-out companies General Motors Co, American International Group Inc and Ally Financial Inc, which sold shares held by the U.S. government in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
But Facebook has several advantages that will allow the company to haggle for a lower fee: it will be an easy sell as hoards of investors are keen to jump on the social media trend, and even a 1 percent fee would reap $100 million in revenue for investment banks, sending a lead advisor to the coveted No. 1 spot on IPO league tables.
“There’s no other IPO like this,” said Lee Simmons, a tech specialist at Dun & Bradstreet. “It’s kind of the 800-pound gorilla for the tech sector.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook plans to file IPO documents with U.S. securities regulators as early as Wednesday, and is close to picking Morgan Stanley as the lead underwriter.
The typical IPO that raises less than $500 million incurs a 7 percent fee — what’s known as “the 7 percent solution.” But as IPOs grow in size, the fee percentage shrinks