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Tech IPOs: How Facebook's Big Move May Compare To Other Huge Tech IPOs

Tech Ipos

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 02/ 2/2012 8:13 am Updated: 02/ 2/2012 11:25 am

The technology world -- and Wall Street for that matter -- are abuzz with the news that Facebook has filed its S-1, the necessary documents for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock.

According to The New York Times, the eight-year-old social networking giant could be valued as much as $100 billion when shares hit the public market. At that valuation, Mark Zuckerberg, the 27-year-old founder of the company, could hold as much as $28 billion worth of the company, Politico reports.

A $5 billion IPO is the biggest Internet IPO ever, eclipsing Google's 2004 public offering that raised $1.4 billion for the search giant. But a huge IPO isn't necessarily a guarantee that a company will continue its impressive rise.

Netscape Communications stunned the market when it went public in 1995, in what NPR calls "a moment considered by many to mark the start of the Internet boom." Three years later, however, Netscape was purchased by AOL and effectively shut down by 2003. (AOL is the parent company of The Huffington Post.)

Apple, on the other hand, has ridden out the boom-bust cycle and reinvented itself from a company on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1980s to the most valuable U.S. tech company in 2012.

Only time will tell what Facebook's fate will be.

Check out the slideshow (below) to see how other huge tech companies like Apple, Google, Netscape, Yahoo and others fared before and after they began trading publicly. Then, take a look at our fact sheet for the best new stats Facebook revealed when it filed its S-1. Read on to see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's letter to investors, and to find out more about how you contributed to the phenomenon that lead Facebook to IPO.

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  • Apple -- $100 Million In December 1980

    The technology giant raised about $100 million when it <a href="http://investor.apple.com/faq.cfm" target="_hplink">went public</a> in December 1980, <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/10/06/flashback-to-apples-1980-ipo/" target="_hplink">according to <em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a>. Apple, which duels with ExxonMobile as <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/25/apple-overtakes-exxon-as-most-valuable-traded-company-in-the-world-again/" target="_hplink">the world's most valuable publicly traded company</a>, had a market value <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=AAPL" target="_hplink">of $426 billion as of February 1, 2012</a>.

  • Google -- $1.67 Billion In August 2004

    According to The Washington Post, Google raised $1.67 billion in its IPO in August 2004, valuing the company at $23 billion when shares began to trade on the public market. After its first day of trading, <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:GOOG" target="_hplink">shares closed at $108.31</a>. As of February 1, 2012, Google has a market capitalization of $189 billion.

  • Microsoft -- $61 Million in March 1986

    Microsoft raised $61 million in its IPO in March 1986, valuing the company at $350 million, <a href="http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/03/13/inside-the-deal-that-made-bill-gates-350000000/" target="_hplink">according to <em>Fortune</em></a>. As of February 1, 2012, Microsoft had a market value of $251 billion.

  • Netscape -- $140 Million In August 1995

    <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1995/09/04/205894/index.htm" target="_hplink">Netscape raised </a>$140 million ahead of its IPO in 1995. By the end of the first day of trading, the company was valued at $2.9 billion. Netscape <a href="http://news.cnet.com/2100-1032_3-1011356.html" target="_hplink">was acquired by AOL</a> (which also owns The Huffington Post) in 1998 but was effectively shut down in 2003, according to CNET. Pictured above is an image, via Flickr, of a Netscape Navigator box at the Computer History Museum.

  • Amazon.com -- $54 Million in May 1997

    <a href="http://news.cnet.com/Amazon.com-IPO-skyrockets/2100-1001_3-279781.html" target="_hplink">CNET reports that Amazon.com</a> raised $54 million in its May 1997 IPO, valuing the online retailer at $438 million. As of Feburary 1, 2012, <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=amzn" target="_hplink">Amazon.com had a market value</a> of $81.5 billion.

  • Yahoo! -- $32.5 Million in April 1996

    Yahoo! raised $32.5 million in its April 1996 IPO, <a href="http://news.cnet.com/2100-1033-209413.html" target="_hplink">CNET reports</a>. The IPO, according to a <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1996/04/13/BU30442.DTL" target="_hplink">1996 article in the <em>San Francisco Chronicle</em></a>, valued the company $848.1 million. As of February 1, 2012, Yahoo had <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:YHOO" target="_hplink">a market value of $19.5 billion</a>.

  • Groupon -- $700 Million In November 2011

    Groupon, the online coupon company, raised about $700 million in its IPO in November 2011, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/groupon-ipo-biggest-since-google_n_1075374.html" target="_hplink">valuing the company at $12.8 billion</a>. As of February 1, 2012, <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:GRPN" target="_hplink">Groupon's market capital</a> was $13.57 billion.

  • eBay -- $63 Million in September 1998.

    The online auction site raised $63 million in its September 1998 initial public offering, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/1998/09/24/technology/ebay/" target="_hplink">CNN reports</a>, valuing the company at $1.88 billion. As of February 1, 2012, eBay <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=662654" target="_hplink">had a market capitalization</a> of $41.68 billion.

  • Zynga - $1 Billion In December 2011

    The social gaming company behind <em>FarmVille</em> and <em>Mafia Wars</em> raised around $1 billion in its initial public offering in December, valuing the company <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/znga-ipo-nasdaq_n_1153518.html?ref=technology" target="_hplink">at about $7 billion</a>. As of February 1, 2012, Zynga <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=Zynga" target="_hplink">had a market capital</a> of 7.33 billion.

  • Pandora -- $235 million In June 2011

    Pandora, an internet radio company, raised about $235 million in its IPO in June 2011, valuing the company at $2.56 Billion, <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2011/06/14/pandora-ipo-prices-at-16-well-above-range/" target="_hplink">according to <em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a>. As of February 1, 2012, Pandora Media Inc <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE%3AP" target="_hplink">had a market capitalization of</a> $2.07 billion.

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