Facebook summons Wall Street for pre-IPO briefing

Facebook Inc is taking the next step on its IPO journey and has summoned research analysts from Wall Street banks to its Menlo Park headquarters early next week for a pre-roadshow briefing to discuss the finer points of its business and books.

The world’s largest social network, which is racing toward what would be Silicon Valley’s largest ever initial public offering, will not disclose new information during the meeting with analysts.

Instead, it will outline its strategy and answer questions on how to analyze its operations and help analysts build models on its financials, two sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the meeting is not public.

Called a “due diligence meeting”, such pre-roadshow pow-wows are standard fare for future debutantes.

It is not clear how many analysts have been invited. One source said analysts from five to 10 of the largest banks underwriting Facebook’s IPO will likely attend the meeting.

A second source said analysts from most banks helping underwrite the offering have been invited to the meeting, scheduled for Monday. Both sources would not elaborate because of the conditions of the presentation.

Facebook listed 31 banks as underwriters on its IPO in an updated regulatory filing on March 7.

A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Founded by Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook is the world’s No. 1 online social network with more than 845 million users. The company plans to raise $5 billion in an IPO expected to value the company at $75 billion to $100 billion, in Silicon Valley’s largest-ever coming-out party.

Some on Wall Street worry about the company’s over-reliance on advertising for 85 percent of its revenue, which totaled $3.7 billion last year. Others will want to know how Facebook intends to fend off increasing competition from the likes of Google Inc, which is cultivating its own social network called Google+.

Also, corporate governance experts have called attention to the fact that Zuckerberg will retain disproportionate control over the company after it goes public.

The company has said it expects to trade under the ticker FB when it makes its debut as a publicly traded company, expected in mid 2012.

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