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Facebook files to become just 'FB' in planned $5 billion IPO

Brian Snyder / Reuters

$28 billion man? Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will see his salary cut to a nominal $1 a year at his request.

Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET

Facebook, the social media giant that is a dominant force on the Internet, filed papers Wednesday to raise $5 billion in the most highly anticipated initial public offering of stock in years.

Facebook said it will apply to have its shares listed with the symbol "FB," suggesting it will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, since Nasdaq uses four-letter stock symbols.

The IPO of the 8-year-old company could be the biggest ever for an Internet company, hauling in far more than the $1.9 billion Google raised in 2004.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company said it had revenue of $3.7 billion last year, up from $1.97 billion in 2010, as it detailed its finances publicly for the first time in an S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook reported net income of $1 billion on the dot last year, up from $606 million the year before.

Facebook's billionaire chairman Mark Zuckerberg, 27, made $1.5 million in compensation last year, including more than $700,000 in salary and bonus. But Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg got more than $30 million in compensation, almost all of it in stock, according to estimates provided in the filing.

Zuckerberg, who is the company's biggest single shareholder with a 28 percent stake, could be worth $28 billion if Facebook is valued at $100 billion, as some media reports project. The latest issue of the Forbes 400 put his net worth at $17.5 billion, which already made him the 14th-wealthiest American.

Other significant shareholders listed in the filing include venture capitalists James Breyer and Peter Thiel, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and the investment firms Accel Partners and DST Global Limited.

Zuckerberg did not get additional stock grants last year, and his $500,000 in base salary will go to a nominal $1 a year at his request effective in 2013, Facebook said in the filing.

The filing did not put an overall value on the company.

In a letter included in the filing, Zuckerberg said Facebook was more interested in what he called the company's "social mission," rather than just making money.

"Most great people care primarily about building and being a part of great things, but they also want to make money, " Zuckerberg said. "Through the process of building a team — and also building a developer community, advertising market and investor base — I’ve developed a deep appreciation for how building a strong company with a strong economic engine and strong growth can be the best way to align many people to solve important problems.

"Simply put: We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services." 

Among other highly compensated executives is Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering, who got sotck and cash valued at $25 million last year. Chief financial office David Ebersman for a package valued at more than $18 million.

Here are a few more nuggets from the filing:

  • Facebook says it has 845 million monthly active users, up 39 percent from 608 million a year earlier
  • The company claims 483 million daily active users
  • 250 million photos are uploaded to the site daily
  • Facebook has nearly $4 billion in cash on its balance sheet, even before the offering.

The company has “no specific plans for how it will use the proceeds of the offering. The main purpose of the offering is to create a market for the stockholders, including company employees, Facebook said.

Morgan Stanley was listed as the lead underwriter, with J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs also getting top billing on the prospectus. 

What do you think of the IPO? Share your thoughts (where else?) on Facebook

Debra Borchardt, The Street, and Fred Lane, Raymond James Financial, discuss what they expect to see in a Facebook IPO filing today and whether its valuation is justified.