The topic of Facebook becoming a publicly traded entity is increasingly a matter of "when" and not "if," and if we're to focus on the former, the most likely answer is sooner rather than later. Nailing down an exact time frame has been difficult. Mark Zuckerberg isn't exactly approaching an IPO with any sense of urgency, though as competition heats up with Google and its Google+ platform, going public may be more important than he realizes.
"People for years were asking me why aren't we trying to make more money," Zuckerberg explained. "I would say I'm trying to build a business for the long term and it was clearly the right strategy."
Not caring about the business side is a luxury Zuckerberg and Co. may not always have. The social landscape is growing, and while Google+ has a long way to go before it catches up, the sultan of search recently saw fit to include Google+ into its search results, giving the competing service a definite edge.
In any event, Swisher says she's heard from "multiple sources" that a public offering of Facebook is likely to come in the third week of May. If true, Zuckerberg would have to file for an IPO probably within the next month to give the Securities Exchange Commission enough time to process the necessary paperwork, a process that typically takes around three months or more.
Whenever it happens, Facebook is almost guaranteed to become the biggest Web IPO of all time. Some estimate it will raise $10 billion, which would value the social network at a whopping $100 billion.