Now that Facebook has filed its paperwork to go public, we're getting our first real glimpse at the inner workings of the world's largest social networking website.
It's pretty impressive.
Let's set aside the potential for Facebook's valuation to get out hand. We're still several weeks away from actual deal pricing and retail investor reactions. What we have now are the company's fundamentals.
Let's dive into a few of the numbers that may surprise you.
845 million: Facebook has 845 million monthly active users. Yes, that's impressive. Some skeptics who thought Facebook was celebrating milestones of cumulative registrations probably didn't realize the dot-com darling only counts current users.
483 million: There are 483 million daily active users. In other words, more than half of Facebook's users are on the website in any given day. The key point here is that while active monthly users have climbed by 39% over the past year, daily active users have increased by 48%. In other words, Facebook continues to get stickier with consumers.
100 billion: There are 100 billion -- yes, billion -- friendship connections on the website. The next time someone brings up Google+, Pinterest, or whatever the Facebook killer flavor of the week may be, realizing that undoing the connections that Facebook has already secured is far easier said than done.
$3.7 billion: That's the amount of revenue Facebook generated last year. You didn't think a "free" website could generate that kind of money? Well, Facebook is the runaway leader in display advertising, and it's starting to make a decent amount of money through the payment platform that app developers are using. A neat thing about the revenue is that it's 88% ahead of 2010's top-line sum. Remember from two paragraphs ago how the number of monthly active users grew by 39% over the past year. Relative to that, an 88% growth in revenue means Facebook is milking more money out of every user.
$1 billion: Facebook generated net income of $1 billion in 2011, and it has been profitable in each of the past three years. Divide $1 billion into $3.7 billion and you get net margins of 27%. That's deeply impressive for a company that was born in a Harvard dorm room not too long ago.
12%: No company has embraced social gaming and its potential on Facebook the way Zynga (ZNGA) has. A beefy 12% of Facebook's revenue comes from Zynga cutting it in on a piece of its gaming revenue action.
$3.9 billion: Facebook had $3.9 billion in cash at the end of 2011. Its working capital clocked in at $3.7 billion. Obviously, Facebook isn't going public because it needs to raise money. It just needs to give its early investors a way out.
Cynics have been comparing Facebook's IPO to last year's overpriced Groupon (GRPN) debut, but Groupon wasn't profitable and probably did need the money.
Facebook's coming. It's not going to be cheap.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any stocks in this article.
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