Individuals who want to invest in Facebook probably won't have an opportunity to do so for well over a year. A new, somewhat credible report indicates that the company won't go public until sometime in 2012.
"Three people familiar with the matter" spoke to Bloomberg, and said the delay will give Mark Zuckerberg "more time to gain users and boost sales." The second part of that claim is believable; the first half, less so.
But Bloomberg presumably wasn't just interviewing random grocery shoppers in Palo Alto, and the article continued, "Facebook would benefit from another year of growth absent the added scrutiny that comes with a public listing, instead of holding an IPO in 2011 as investors speculated, said the people . . ."
Lots of evidence supports that idea, too. Paul Ceglia's not-yet-disproven claims of ownership wouldn't do a public company any good, for example, and the release of The Social Network will hardly equate to positive PR.
Plus, Zuckerberg himself might not be ready to handle the challenge. Consider that he said at the Cannes Liones International Advertising Festival that running a public company probably wouldn't be too different from running a private one. Audience members laughed in response.
Another benefit of delaying the IPO will be that Facebook can give the market more time to recover. It must be a rare company that would want to go public when there are good odds of the Dow crashing the same day.