Facebook Valued at an Astonishing $104bn

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Facebook has priced its shares ahead of one of the most eagerly-anticipated share flotations in recent stock market history.

The social network said on Thursday that it valued shares at $38 (£24) each, and that its shares would begin trading in New York on Friday.

At this price the eight-year-old firm would be worth $104bn (£66bn).

Demand is set to be high; earlier this week Facebook said it would be selling 25% more shares than planned.

But questions remain about the firm's ability to generate profits and take advantage of mobile phone platforms.

There are also concerns that once the company has to answer to shareholders, there may be a greater emphasis on advertising to generate profits.

Earlier this week, the company indicated the price would be between $34-$38 a share, with about 421 million shares up for sale.

This would represent one of the highest value share sales, or initial public offerings (IPOs) in US history.

By selling shares at that value, Facebook raised $16bn for itself.

However, the new shareholders will not have much of a say in how the company is run.

The shares on offer are A shares, which carry one vote per share, whereas the current owners' shares are B shares, which carry 10 votes each.

They will control more than 96% of the votes after the public listing, with founder Mark Zuckerberg holding just under 56% of the voting power of the company.

Mr Zuckerberg, who owns about 25% of the company, stands to gain the most from taking Facebook public. Fellow founders Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin will also become paper-billionares overnight, as will Napster founder and former employee Sean Parker.

Read more at the BBC....

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