Will Facebook deliver an IPO surprise?

By Pallavi Gogoi/The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg turns up at business conventions in a hoodie. “Cocky” is the word used to describe him most often, after “billionaire.”
So when he takes Facebook public, why would he follow the Wall Street rules?
The company is expected to file as early as today to sell stock on the open market in what will be the most talked-about initial public offering since Google in 2004.
Around the nation, regular investors and IPO watchers are anticipating some kind of twist – perhaps a provision for the 800 million users of Facebook.
The most successful young technology companies have a history of doing things differently. Google’s IPO prospectus contained a letter from its founders to investors that said the company believed in the motto “Don’t be evil.”
Facebook declined to comment, but Reena Aggarwal, a finance professor who has studied IPOs at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, believes Zuckerberg will emulate Google’s philosophy.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted an IPO accessible to all investors, and said so in their first regulatory filing. Facebook may say something similar when it files to declare its intention to sell stock publicly.
Facebook is expected to raise as much as $10 billion, which will value the company at $75 billion to $100 billion, making it one of the largest IPOs. A stock usually starts trading three to four months after filing.
The highly anticipated filing will reveal how much Facebook intends to raise from the stock market, what it plans to do with the money and details on its own financial performance and future growth prospects.
It’s almost become conventional for tech companies to include an unconventional letter when they make their stock market debut. It’s widely expected that Zuckerberg, in the very least measure of showmanship, will write one.