Facebook to float?

Facebook is parting company with its CFO Gideon Yu. Is it really going to try for a float now?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The abruptly announced departure of Yu – whom Facebook wants to replace with someone with listed company experience -  has fuelled speculation that the social networking site will attempt to float in the near future. The world has become used to the on again, off again nature of the Facebook IPO story, and founder and chief exec Mark Zuckerburg is known to be keen on following his dream of making Facebook into an even more indispensable part of people’s lives than it is for some already.

To this end he has been very unwilling so far to dash down the profitability route, preferring to build functionality and reach rather than attempt to monetise too quickly and risk alienating Facebook’s 200m users. Unfortunately, the recent redesign of the site has not gone down too well with many regular users, who think it is becoming too cluttered and busy.

But it looks like the recession may be forcing a change of heart. If the company is indeed gearing up to go public in the nearish future, it would most likely be because it is struggling to find the cash it needs to continue growing via its preferred private investor model. After all, money is tight in a downturn and those with cash to spare may prefer to invest it in boring old businesses which actually make a profit.

Headhunter Spencer Stuart has been appointed the task of finding the new CFO, a search which will probably see them knocked down in the rush. Facebook would probably be a lot more fun to work for than many a credit-crunched corporate at the moment. We can all think of numerous former big company execs who have found themselves unexpectedly back on the job market recently. One F Goodwin springs most readily to mind, and he certainly knows plenty about how to lose money….

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