Investors will probably “like” this one: Facebook is preparing to file papers imminently with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its long-awaited initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The report, which cites “people familiar with the matter,” states the IPO filing could come as early as Wednesday, February 1, 2012.
That would be much earlier than a previous report from The Journal, which pegged the IPO filing to come between April and June 2012.
Morgan Stanley is reported to be Facebook’s lead underwriter, according to the Journal.
A Facebook spokesperson told TPM that the company wouldn’t “participate in IPO-related speculation.”
But Facebook reportedly froze all secondary market trades by its current private shareholders, according to a report from Bloomberg on Wednesday.
At the time, Bloomberg reported that the halt on trading didn’t “necessarily mean the [IPO] filing was imminent.”
It’s important to remember that even if and when Facebook files initial IPO papers with the SEC — its prospectus, or S-1 — that doesn’t mean the company will begin trading on the market anytime soon. The SEC still has to review the process and Facebook and the SEC would trade several responses before finally filing the “red herring,” the final paperwork. Usually, companies going public also go on a “road show,” to drum up interest from high-profile investors, but that part of the process might be abbreviated in the case of Facebook, given what would likely be a base of automatic interest from just about everyone. The entire process can take up to 12 weeks, so it would be a while before anyone could actually invest in in “FB” stock, or whatever the ticker name would be.