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As We Close in on the Alibaba IPO, Here's What You Need to Watch For

It isn’t often that a really “hot” initial public stock offering lives up to the pre-deal hype.

But Thursday’s IPO of China e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE-WI: BABA) is shaping up to be everything the most ardent market mavens have been saying.

Alibaba is on track to become the largest U.S. initial public offering ever.

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  • Facebook IPO

  • Facebook Ventures Into New Territory with Organ Donor Status Facebook is now in the business of saving lives, with another change it hopes all of its members will move swiftly to "like."

    The social network behemoth announced Tuesday morning a plan to encourage its millions of friends to start advertising their organ donor status on their Facebook pages. Facebook hopes the status update will create a kind of gentle peer pressure that will urge its 161 million U.S. members to add their names to the list of registered donors.

    More than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more worldwide, are waiting for life saving heart, liver or kidney transplants. On average, 18 die per day because there aren't enough organs for transplants.

    Facebook aims to change that.

    The status change is being rolled out first in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, where Facebook has some 30 million members.

    Plans are to add other countries in the coming months.

    Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement, "We never could have anticipated that what started as a small network would evolve into such a powerful tool for communication and problem solving."

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  • Profit Falls Ahead of Facebook IPO – Will Investor Interest Follow? Is this the first sign of trouble for the Facebook IPO?

    The social media giant, now in the final weeks before its long awaited IPO filing, announced Monday that first-quarter profit and revenue has slipped since the end of 2011.

    Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) disclosed in a regulatory filing that profit fell 32% from the previous quarter to $205 million. Revenue dropped 6% to $1.06 billion. Sales were up 45% -- slower than the 55% sales growth in the last quarter.

    Expenses surged on costs related to data center building and workforce growth as the company manages its increasing subscriber base that's climbed to 901 million users worldwide. Expenses soared to $677 million - nearly double what they were a year ago.

    Facebook also blamed the drop on "seasonal trends" in advertising and user growth in regions that bring in less revenue per subscriber.

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  • Facebook IPO Date: May 17 Might Be the Magic Day Here's some news devout Facebook followers and savvy investors are sure to "like" - don't write it in ink just yet, but looks like May 17 could be the Facebook IPO date.

    While Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) refused to comment, "multiple sources close to the company" say that is the date, according to TechCrunch.

    Ever since Facebook filed the necessary papers to go public in February, speculation has run rampant as to the exact timing. Late spring sprung up as the most likely time, but no precise date was set.

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  • Possible Dates Released for Facebook Stock to Hit Markets Possible dates have been released for the highly anticipated Facebook stock (NASDAQ: FB) to start trading, and if they're right the company could start its road show in less than a month.

    CNBC reported that investors could see the Facebook IPO priced by May 16 or 17, and start trading the next morning, according to an anonymous source familiar with the matter. The social media giant filed for its IPO Feb. 1.

    If this timeline comes true, Facebook will start marketing the deal May 7.

    A possible IPO delay could stem from Facebook's new $1 billion purchase of photo-sharing network Instagram. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has to review the deal and could approve as early as the end of April.

    If the Instagram deal takes longer than expected to approve, Facebook could hold off pricing until May 23 or 24, CNBC reported.

    The Facebook road show is expected to last about 10 days, focusing on potential investors in New York, Silicon Valley and Boston, according to the source.

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  • Tech News: Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) Scores Big with Both AOL Patent Sale and Instagram Deal a Read More...
  • Sorry, NYSE: Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) Will Trade on Nasdaq Investors finally have the answer to where Facebook Inc. will choose to list shares when the social media powerhouse starts trading this year.

    Say hello to NASDAQ: FB.

    Facebook had no comment as to why it chose Nasdaq. The news was reported in The New York Times citing a source speaking on anonymity.

    Facebook plans to raise up to $5 billion in its initial public offering (IPO), which it filed for Feb. 1. It's expected to start trading in May.

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  • The Real Reason Mark Zuckerberg is Paying $2 Billion in Taxes on the Facebook IPO As the much-ballyhooed Facebook IPO looms closer, there's a mountain being made out of a molehill.

    Turns out 27-year-old founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have a $2 billion tax bill that, according to a variety of sources, he intends to pay in full.

    He seems like a regular guy...or is he?

    To say I'm skeptical of his intentions would be an insult to actual skeptics. I think the "Zuck" is a great guy, but a regular guy? No way.

    He didn't build from scratch a business that has 845 million customers by being stupid.

    Zuckerberg goes to great lengths to project an aw-shucks kind of image. But in reality, this move is about as down-to-earth as Kim Kardashian's wedding. And it's every bit as sophisticated a play as I would have expected out of Larry Ellison or the late Steve Jobs.

    Zuckerberg (and presumably his advisors) knows that the stakes couldn't be higher than they are at the moment, which is why he wants to pay this tax bill and reinforce the illusion that Facebook is part of Middle America - instead of being built upon its back.

    He knows that successfully doing so will help him monetize your information when Facebook goes public.

    I say this because it's important to remember the only reason Facebook is worth anything is because users - people like you - have voluntarily, with no compensation whatsoever, assembled the greatest single collection of marketing data in recorded history. That's right. Your data is going to make him rich.

    So where are all the privacy advocates now?

    I'd love to see what Facebook's proposed valuation would be if 845 million people suddenly decided they really don't want to share their most intimate moments with friends or decide they don't really want to "like" anything.

    And why hasn't the Occupy Wall Street crowd or the Tax the Rich bunch latched onto this?

    Because evidently none of them can spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y. And many are probably too busy using Facebook to "meme" about their activities to pay attention anyway.

    But that's really beside the point.

    A Zuckerberg Tax? ...Give me a Break

    There should be a huge amount of backlash, but there isn't. Well, unless you count any number of proposals like the "Zuckerberg Tax" advanced last Tuesday in a New York Times OpEd piece by tax lawyer David Miller.

    Miller advocates allowing the government to claw back money from the ultra-wealthy. He believes that individuals earning more than $2.2 million in income or having more than $5.7 million in securities should have their stocks marked to market and taxed even if they haven't sold their investments.

    That's asinine.

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  • Facebook IPO: How You Could Get Shares in the $100 Billion King of Social Media For more than a year there has been rampant speculation about a Facebook IPO, and now one is finally on the way.

    According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is looking at a deal that would value the company between $75 billion and $100 billion, WSJ reported, making it one of the biggest in U.S. history.

    Facebook is looking to raise as much as $10 billion, which would make it the fourth-largest U.S. IPO behind Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), and AT&T Wireless. A $100 billion valuation would make Facebook worth as much as global powerhouse McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD).

    WSJ reported Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) would be the lead underwriter, a job that could give the firm more than $500 million in fees. [But that $500 million could lose 90% of its value if this government practice is allowed to continue. Major financial companies won't be the only ones threatened, either. This will hit everyone's investments - and could devour a huge chunk out of your retirement account. Take a look at our latest free report right here for details.]

    A strong performance by Facebook could test the idea that social media companies are overhyped. But before you get excited about Facebook shattering that theory, you'd do well to look at some of the other hot tech IPOs of the past year.

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  • Fuzzy Math, Greater Fools and the Facebook IPO I have several friends who think the Facebook IPO is the next Microsoft.

    I think it's more likely the next Research in Motion.

    Or perhaps the next Sony, Kodak, or Eastern Airlines--all of which were once world-class brands that got sideswiped by hungry new competitors.

    Facebook...you may as well buy a lottery ticket.

    Don't get me wrong. In just a few short years, Facebook has accumulated an unprecedented 845 million users representing 12.07% of the world's population.

    But does that merit an offering worth as much as $100 billion?

    Maybe to a lot of people, but not to me.

    Think about the numbers.

    There are 7 billion people on the planet today, 5.15 billion of whom live on $10 or less a day. Of that group, roughly 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.

    That means if you remove those who live on less than $10 a day because theoretically they can't afford a computer or don't have enough disposable income to be monetized, that leaves roughly 1.85 billion potential Facebook users.

    In a perfect world where a company could capture 100% of its target market, that would cap Facebook's potential user growth at 118.93%.

    But we don't live in perfect world. As far as I know, no company has ever captured 100% of its target market. Not once.

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  • NYSE: FB vs. Nasdaq: FB, And the Other Big Facebook IPO Questions Investors were on high alert today (Wednesday) for a Facebook IPO, which has rumored to reserve both NYSE: FB and Nasdaq: FB as possible ticker symbols.

    A New York Post article reported the two listing companies were in "hot debate" for Facebook.

    "Facebook won't significantly change the listing revenues for these companies but there could be a real halo effect wherein other companies decided to list with whichever wins Facebook," Larry Tabb, founder of capital markets advisory firm Tabb Group, told The Post.

    Besides the ticker, the biggest questions on investors' minds include:

    How much does Facebook want to raise? The latest rumors say the filing will set a preliminary goal of $5 billion, which can be raised if enough investor interest is shown.

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  • Facebook IPO: Where's the Love, Mark Zuckerberg? The long-awaited Facebook IPO is finally arriving - and it's time for Mark Zuckerberg to share the love.

    But most of Facebook's 800 million users won't get a chance to grab a piece of the multibillion-dollar deal.

    Instead, the shares will be reserved for the wealthiest investors, not the loyal users who have fueled Zuckerberg's rise to riches.

    Before Facebook, Zuckererg was just a college student....

    Today, Zuckerberg's net worth is $17.5 billion and he's ranked No. 52 on the Forbes list of billionaires - No. 22 in the United States - and No. 9 on the Forbes list of powerful people.

    "Zuckerberg made history with Facebook - and now he's the king of social media and social networking - the man with the Midas touch," said Money Morning Capital Waves Strategist Shah Gilani. "But now it's time for him to give some of the gold that he's earned as the head of Facebook back to the people who helped make that happen. They're the ones who have brought his company to the forefront. They're the ones who should be participating in this."

    So, how could Zuckerberg use the Facebook IPO to give back to those who've helped him become an Internet legend?

    Gilani has a plan for that...

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  • Before You Get Excited About the Facebook IPO… For more than a year there has been rampant speculation about a Facebook IPO, and now it finally appears as though one is on the way.

    The social media giant could file papers for an initial public offering as soon as Wednesday, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The company is looking at a deal that would value the social media giant between $75 billion and $100 billion, the WSJ reported, making it one of the biggest in U.S. history.

    Scott Sweet of IPO Boutique told MarketWatch a Facebook IPO will likely lead to "pandemonium."

    "It's absolutely massive," Sweet said in an interview. "The mere drop of a hint will cause pandemonium."

    Facebook is looking to raise as much as $10 billion, which would make it the fourth-largest U.S. IPO behind Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), and AT&T Wireless. A $100 billion valuation would make Facebook worth as much as global powerhouse McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD).

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  • Five Stocks to Avoid Like the Plague There's no better time to take a good hard look at your portfolio than the beginning of a new year.

    I know this may not be your first rodeo and chances are you've already done at least a little thinking about how your investments came through 2011, and what you'd like to achieve in 2012.

    If not, there's no time like the present.

    Especially when it comes to something I call "Ditching the Dogs," which is a variant of the well-known and very popular "Dogs of the Dow." You've probably already guessed from the name that I'm talking about unloading those investments that have underperformed, or which are likely to hold my portfolio back in the next twelve months.

    Obviously this is a highly personal process and every investor is different, but here are five stocks I'd avoid like the plague right now (and the reasons why):

    1. Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) - Long a bastion of American retailing success, I've been leery of the company for a long time. In fact, I've steered clear of it since hedge fund investor Eddie Lampert used more than a little financial wizardry to create Sears Holdings. At the time, his goal was to tap into the vast real estate empire underlying Sears and subsequently K-mart when that company emerged from bankruptcy and he snapped up shares. The stock hit $190 a share in early 2007 on the assumption that it would.

    Now, though, it's a very different story. With real estate in the toilet and the value of his "collateralized" debt circling the drain, he plans to fire employees, cut more than 120 stores and sell property. Same store sales are down sharply as is profitability. Fitch Ratings Inc. has cut the company's bond to junk status, and it's likely to have hundreds of millions in writedowns ahead. I think the company is going to restructure, and net income is going to fall to the tune of billions when now-litigation conscious accountants have their day.

    2. Research in Motion Ltd. (Nasdaq: RIMM) - Once the darling of connectivity and a status symbol for the cognoscenti, RIMM's share of the smartphone market continues to evaporate like fog on a hot morning. I recommended shorting the company a few years back but was early to the party on several occasions; somehow the stock seemed to fight back. The stock is down 89.52% from its peak of $144.56 in early 2008 and up a creek without a paddle...and you know which creek I am talking about.

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  • The Facebook IPO: Why Facebook Subscribers Should Get a Piece of the Action Mark Zuckerberg... you need to share the wealth from the Facebook IPO.

    During a Wednesday morning appearance on the FoxBusiness "Varney & Co." program, Money Morning's Shah Gilani said the Facebook Inc. founder and CEO should reserve 20% of the potential $100 billion initial public offering (IPO) for some of the company's 6 00 million subscribers - since they're the folks who really made Zuckerberg the king of social networking (as well one of the youngest billionaires in history).

    Given that the Facebook IPO is likely to be one of the hottest ever when the company goes public next year, Gilani said that his proposal would probably be the only way the average investor could get a piece of the company at the offering price. Otherwise, retail investors who really want to own Facebook shares will be forced to buy in on the secondary market after Facebook's share price has experienced what's expected to be a stratospheric zoom. So he challenged Zuckerberg to make this pioneering move.

    "Zuckerberg made history with Facebook - and now he's the king of social media and social networking - the man with the Midas touch," said Gilani, a former Wall Street insider and Money Morning commentator who operates the Capital Wave Forecast advisory service. "But now it's time for him to give some of the gold that he's earned as the head of Facebook back to the people who helped make that happen."

    Added Gilani: "Facebook was Act One for him. This kind of pioneering move with the Facebook IPO could be Act Two - the encore. If social media is a force for good, this would be Zuckerberg's opportunity to once again prove he's a real social innovator."

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  • Facebook & Goldman Sachs: Don't Be Fooled by a Facebook IPO If you missed Google, should you bet on Facebook? We don't think so.

    Facebook will IPO. And it will IPO soon. The company may have no choice if the SEC gets a hold of its records. But that doesn't mean it will be a good stock to buy.

    Facebook is the most visited Web site in the world. Its founder just had a successful movie made from his life. And rumors about the company's IPO potential have investors and their financial advisors drooling.

    Yes, Facebook is popular. But none of those things means the company can make any money. And Goldman's nearly half-a-billion dollar investment in the social network isn't the... Read More...