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Facebook May Be Flinching on Valuation

NEW YORK (TheStreet -- Did Facebook flinch on its valuation?

Facebook ecould file for its initial public offering as early as next week, according to The Wall Street Journal, which says the social networking giant is looking to structure the deal based on a total company valuation of between $75 billion and $100 billion.

Previous reports have said Facebook would come to market targeting a $100 billion valuation, so this looks like a bit of a comedown from prior expectations.

"They've flinched," said Francis Gaskins, president of IPO Desktop. "It was always $100 billion, but now with the range dropping to $75 [billion], it looks like Facebook is bending to the bankers."

Internet IPOs haven't paid off for shareholders and the bankers are starting to push back on inflated valuations. Gaskins pointed out that Facebook member numbers have not shown the kind of growth that would command such a high valuation. He also points out that Facebook fatigue may have started to set in and the user base isn't growing like it used to.

According to the Journal report, Facebook could file as early as this coming Wednesday, looking to raise as much as $10 billion in the IPO. Morgan Stanley (MS) is considered the frontrunner to be lead underwriter with Goldman Sachs (GS) listed as another one of the bankers involved. Recall, Goldman made a $450 million investment in Facebook that gave the company a rough valuation of $50 billion.

Performance has been less than stellar for recent Internet offerings. Groupon (GRPN) is down 23%. Zynga (ZNGA) lost almost half its value and is now only up 2%.

Pandora Media (P) and LinkedIn (LNKD) are both down 22%.

--Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/wallandbroad.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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