Once known for his flip-flops and resistance to corporate culture, Mark Zuckerberg is now more worried that his company is being taken seriously ahead of a highly-anticipated IPO that Facebook is diligently preparing for, according to a new published report.
Ahead of its debut, which is expected in the second quarter of 2012, the social-networking king has been practicing answering questions from analysts during faux post-earnings conference calls, has written an initial IPO prospectus and has been professionally auditing its quarterly financial statements, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The moves appear aimed at ensuring Facebook garners as high of a valuation as possible -- some reports indicate it may be as much as $100 billion -- and avoiding the stumbles of recent Internet IPOs like daily deals site Groupon (GRPN) and online gaming company Zynga (ZNGA).
"There was a period in Microsoft's evolution where they said, we want to put a computer on everyone's desk," Zuckerberg, 27, told the paper. "That's the way that I want to run Facebook...We want to be operating in a way that we're working towards this longer vision of where we think the world should be."
Even though David Ebersman, Facebook’s chief financial officer, has expressed skepticism to investment bankers about what they would bring to the table in an IPO, the company has little interest in a Google (GOOG) styled electronic auction IPO, the Journal reported.
A report last month indicating Ebersman’s skepticism likely led to concern on Wall Street, which stands to generate some $600 million to $700 million in underwriting fees from the IPO, which is expected to raise $10 billion.
Still, Zuckerberg would prefer Facebook remain private because he’s concerned about an IPO’s impact on corporate culture and the tendency to focus on share price, the Journal reported. However, the Facebook co-founder realizes it’s the right thing to do because of a federal rule that requires certain disclosures once a company exceeds 500 shareholders, the paper said.
In a further sign of how Facebook is growing up, Zuckerberg has traded in his trademark Adidas flip-flops for Brooks running shoes, the Journal reported.