* Increases valuation to as much as $104 bln
* Sources say demand strong, books to close early
By Olivia Oran and Alexei Oreskovic
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, May 15 Facebook Inc
has increased the price range in Silicon Valley's
biggest-ever initial public offering to raise more than $12
billion, giving the No.1 social network a valuation potentially
exceeding $100 billion.
The company founded in a Harvard dorm room by Mark
Zuckerberg raised the price target range to between $34 and $38
per share in response to strong demand, from $28 to $35, the
company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission on Tuesday.
That would value Facebook at roughly $93 billion to $104
billion, rivaling the market capitalization of Internet
powerhouses like Amazon.com Inc and exceeding that of
Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc combined.
At the mid-point of $36, Facebook would raise $12.1 billion,
eclipsing Google Inc's debut in 2004.
Wall Street had expected the company to increase the price
range, with investors keen to get a slice of a strong consumer
brand. The IPO roadshow began last week and has drawn crowds of
investors from coast to coast.
Facebook plans to close the books on its IPO later on
Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule, and in a signal that the
landmark initial share sale is drumming up strong demand, a
source familiar with the deal told Reuters on Monday.
The social network is scheduled to price its shares on
Thursday and begin trading on Friday.
The IPO is already "well oversubscribed," which is why the
company is closing its books earlier than anticipated, the
Facebook plans to sell 337.4 million shares, or 12.3 percent
of the company. The capital-raising target far outstrips other
big Internet IPOs. Google raised just shy of $2 billion in 2004,
while last year Groupon Inc tapped investors for $700
million and Zynga Inc raked in $1 billion.
The higher price range marks an increase of 21 percent on
the lower end.
The IPO comes amid concerns from some investors that
Facebook hasn't yet figured out a way to make money from an
increasing number of users who access the social network on
mobile devices such as smartphones.
Company executives met with prospective investors in Chicago
on Monday and are slated to travel to Kansas City and Denver,
before returning to Menlo Park, California, where Facebook is
A host of Wall Street banks are underwriting Facebook's
offering, with Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and
Goldman Sachs serving as leads. Facebook will trade on
Nasdaq under the symbol FB.