Facebook made $500 million in profit last year
Facebook last year made a dollar in profit for every user on the site, according to new documents and analyst estimates.
The social networking leader was valued at $50 billion following a private investment by Goldman Sachs earlier this week, leading to questions about how much money Facebook is actually worth.
Goldman is now rounding up clients for a second round of investing – but only those willing to shell out at least $2 million by the end of the week.
Facebook is likely to have margins that are going to exceed Google’s margins
According to documents hand-delivered to potential investors by Goldman, Facebook is generating profits at a faster-than-expected rate, and will likely attract so many investors this year that it will have to disclose financial data similar to a publicly traded company by April 2012.
The move could set the stage for a much-anticipated Facebook initial public offering in 2012, though there is no guarantee that the social networking company would choose to sell shares to the public simply because it is required to open its books to the public.
Facebook earned $355 million in net income in the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of $1.2 billion, according to a source who received the documents that Goldman Sachs provided to its clients.
Goldman began hand-delivering copies of the 101-page private placement memorandum for a $1.5 billion Facebook offering to its wealthy customers a little after lunchtime in New York, according to the source.
$50 billion not too much?
The $50 billion valuation is high, but not outrageous based on the glimpse into the company’s financial performance and the growth that it implies, said Ryan Jacob, of the Jacob Internet Fund.
“It just shows you that these businesses can generate 30% to 40% potentially, operating margins,” he said. “They probably did at least $500 million in net income in 2010.”
“This year you could make the case that they’re probably going to be north of $800 million and probably close to a billion,” said Jacob.
Wedbush Securities analyst Lou Kerner, who owns Facebook shares, said: “The revenue kind of are in line with our expectations.”
“The surprise was on the profitability. I think it highlights that Facebook is likely to have margins that are going to exceed Google’s margins,” he said.
The financial statements circulated on Thursday were not audited and offered little detail about how Facebook generates it revenue, said the Goldman customer, who did not want to be identified because he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Facebook declined to comment on the report.