How Long Do We Have to Wait for Facebook's IPO?

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All eyes have been on social kingpin Facebook ever since the company filed its S-1 registration statement with the SEC last month. Facebook bared it all for the world to see, but the important thing at the time was to remember that the road to the public can be long and winding.

The S-1 is just the first stop along the way, not to mention the first tollbooth, since Facebook ponied up a $573,000 registration fee. The registration statement typically sees several amendments along the way, and Facebook had one earlier this week to incorporate that pesky Yahoo! (NAS: YHOO) patent lawsuit, which relates to various patents over advertising and social networking, among other things.

The amendment includes standard legalese that states Yahoo! is "seeking unspecified damages." Facebook "[intends] to vigorously defend this lawsuit" and needlessly says that "any unfavorable outcome" would hurt its business.


The new S-1 also mentions Paul Ceglia, who has been hounding Mark Zuckerberg for years, claiming that he owns as much as 84% of the company. He's since scaled back his demands to "just" 50% of Zuckerberg's roughly 28% stake. At the $100 billion valuation the company might fetch, that would be $14 billion payday. No wonder he won't give up.

In court, Ceglia has produced emails as part of his evidence of contracts that he's entitled to his share, while Facebook maintains that the messages are forged -- it doesn't help that they were made in Microsoft Word.

On to the $100 billion question: When is Facebook's IPO?

The Wall Street Journal reports that prospective Facebook investors may only be looking at another couple of months of waiting. Its "people familiar with the matter" are pegging May as the timeframe for the offering and note that the company has halted the trading of its shares on private secondary markets heading into the IPO to do some shareholder record-keeping.

At this point, the ball is in the SEC's court, so all we can do is wait. Facebook is also expected to file at least another S-1 amendment before its public debut.

Search giant Google (NAS: GOOG) doesn't take kindly to Facebook, since all the time that Facebookers spend on the site is more of the display-advertising pie that it steals from Big G. Oh, and that secret smear campaign last year probably burned some bridges.

Gamer Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) , meanwhile, thinks seeing other people might be good for the couple; it's starting its own gaming platform that will help it reduce its reliance on Facebook. Zynga contributed 12% of Facebook's revenue last year, but Zynga has more to lose if sleeping in separate bedrooms turns into a bitter divorce.

In any event, hang tight, investors. Facebook is on its way.

Facebook is just one American company that looks set to dominate the world as the site continues to expand internationally, particularly in Brazil and India. If two months is too long of a wait, then take a look at these 3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World to hold you over in the meantime. It's totally free.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuholds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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