Facebook’s IPO – Real deal or internet bubble?
It is the biggest tech listing in history, but is it the real deal or just an internet bubble? After all the speculation, the social network Facebook finally announced it was going public to raise at least $5bn -sparking all sorts of frenzy and hyperbole over ‘the mother of all tech listings’. And to be fair, it is a pretty big deal not least of all because Facebook makes a lot of money.Last year, Facebook had revenues of $3.71bn, an increase of 88 per cent from 2010. An early investor like Accel Partners could see its initial $2.5mn investment in Facebook increase to $10bn. But it was not that long ago that ‘dot com’ seemed like a great investment, and that particular bubble ended up bursting.As a public company Facebook will find itself in new territory. The constant pressure from shareholders to bolster the bottom line, but pressure too to do it without alienating users. Is it the next Google? Or the next AOL?Also on Counting the Cost: East meets West – Angela Merkel’s hard sell on her trip to China as she looks for some euro-saving cash.The German chancellor tried to persuade China to buy more eurozone debt, to give more money to the IMF and to back Europe’s oil sanctions on Iran.Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer to all three questions was ‘no’, because although China is the world’s second-biggest economy, it is still – all told – a poor nation.But it also understands Europe needs help, and the money is there: one-quarter of China’s $3.2tn of currency reserves are already euro-denominated. So, is Europe actually an attractive option for China these days?