Inundated with demand, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to stop taking orders for shares of Facebook Inc. on Thursday, and has told some would-be investors to expect just a small fraction of the shares they requested, according to people familiar with the situation.
The interest, amounting to several billion dollars in an equity offering likely to be no more than $1.5 billion, is a sign of investor fascination with the closely held social-networking company despite a dearth of available information about its operations and financial condition. Goldman has provided some potential investors with little more than a snapshot of Facebook’s online traffic, advertisements and other basic measurements, with no disclosure of the Palo Alto, Calif., company’s bottom line, people familiar with the matter said.
Some additional details about Facebook’s performance emerged late Wednesday as part of an offering document. According to people familiar with the document, Facebook had net income of $200 million in 2009 on revenue of $777 million. Figures for 2010 weren’t disclosed, but analysts have said the company’s revenue last year could be as much as $2 billion, fueled by advertising growth.
Wealthy Goldman clients have been jockeying for a piece of Facebook since the deal was struck last weekend, a situation reminiscent of the technology bubble of the late 1990s when online-grocery seller Webvan Group Inc. and other upstarts with far shorter track records than Facebook sold stakes to investors