PALO ALTO, Calif. (


) -- With rumors of a

$10 billion IPO

swirling around


, analysts are already speculating that the offering could fuel major M&A, potentially even a leap into the gadget world for the social networking giant.


Wall Street Journal

reported on Monday that Facebook's eagerly-anticipated offering could arrive in April-June 2012 timeframe, raising as much as $10 billion in a deal that would value the firm at $100 billion.

A Facebook IPO could fuel major M&A, say analysts.

"I would certainly think that they would be in a position to purchase any Web 2.0 companies that are providing ancillary services to them now," said Scott Sweet, senior managing partner of research firm IPO Boutique. "I think that they would be active in the M&A department."

Sweet speculates that Facebook, flush with IPO cash, could nab partner and




, currently pushing toward its own $1 billion IPO.

"They need to focus on their revenue stream," added Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. "Picking up Zynga would not be a bad idea -- one way that you monetize Facebook is through the games."

Facebook will generate revenue of $4.27 billion this year, according to


, citing information from research firm


. Some $3.8 billion of the firm's revenue will come from advertising, EMarketer said, a 104% hike from 2010.

It's not just Zynga, though, that could be in Facebook's crosshairs. Acquisition chatter has also focused on


, which was recently

valued at $8 billion


Twitter, with its vast hordes of micro-bloggers, would extend Facebook's domination of the social networking realm, bolstering its arsenal against Internet giant


(GOOG) - Get Report


"Twitter would be possible

as an acquisition target," said IPO Boutique's Sweet. "I think it would be post-IPO."

Google followed its own 2004 IPO with an ambitious strategy to carve out new revenue streams such as the Android mobile operating system. Could Facebook follow a similar path and branch out into areas far beyond its core competency? There are already


that an


Facebook phone is in the works, running the Android OS.

Enderle Group's Rob Enderle, however, warns that Facebook would be treading a precarious path if it starts touting gadgets. "We saw Google lose focus once they got

the IPO money and started doing everything," he said. "The money can cause distractions."

Speculation has even linked Facebook to embattled handset maker

Research in Motion


, although Enderle says that the social networker should focus on its core Internet competencies.

"They need to assure their ad revenue," he explained. "

If I were Facebook I would look really hard at Google competitively -- maybe look at some ad aggregation companies."

Facebook declined a request for comment on this story.


Written by James Rogers in New York


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