Image credit: CNet

If the grapevine is to be trusted, Facebook plans to offer $5 billion in stock on May 17th at a roughly $100 billion valuation as soon as the company shores up some paperwork (including documents related to its recent acquisition of Instagram) with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is in line with earlier reports which placed the IPO date somewhere during the third week in May. An anonymous source “familiar with the matter” told CNBC that the bankers and management orchestrating the deal plan to price the IPO on May 16th or 17th with shares hitting the NASDAQ the following day under the symbol FB. The source also told CNBC that Facebook will begin its pre-IPO “road show” – a period of visiting investment banks and marketing the stock offering – on May 7th.

Facebook is in what’s known as a “quiet period” before its public offering. SEC rules and regulations prohibit anyone with knowledge of any pre-IPO transactions to have on-the-record conversations with the media. The anonymous source mentioned above may have leaked news to hype what’s going to be the largest tech IPO in history. It doesn’t need more hype.

Since trading of Facebook shares halted in private markets two weeks ago, there’s been no way to exchange shares in the company. Institutional investors want the 2.51 billion fully-diluted outstanding shares of Facebook stock priced as high as possible. The desired valuation would be at bare minimum equal to, but ideally higher than the $103 billion private markets valued the company on its final day of trading so as not to raise the hackles of the SEC, which has been leery of these private exchanges in the past.

Doing the math, shares of Facebook stock should be priced at roughly $40 by the time they hit the market.

Barring exigent circumstances like war, famine, a catastrophic collapse of Facebook’s technical infrastructure, and/or illness or injury befalling its 27-year old CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s march to a May IPO shall continue.

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