Facebook roadshow starts Monday; IPO on May 18?

Reports say nine-day Facebook roadshow includes several stops before highly-anticipated IPO

Facebook officials continue to decline to respond to speculation on when the social networking company will pull the trigger on its highly-anticipated initial public offering.

The latest reports came today when the The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported that Facebook would launch a pre-IPO road trip on Monday and that the offering will take place on May 18.

Facebook declined comment on the reports.

Earlier, the company was reported to have pushed the IPO back to June from mid-May to allow it to digest a couple of recent major acquisitions -- the $1 billion purchase of Instagram and the $550 million purchase of some 650 former AOL patents and patent applications from Microsoft.

The nine-day roadshow is said to include stops in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore and possibly Los Angeles, according to the New York Times.

Both the Times and the Journal cited unnamed sources.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman are expected to make most of the pitches on the roadshow, though co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may make a few appearances as well, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook announced plans in early February to file papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for what is expected to be one of the biggest IPOs in history.

Observers expect Facebook to be valued at some $100 billion after the IPO, in which its expected to raise $5 billion to $10 billion.

Analysts have said that a successful Facebook IPO could lead to a potential windfall for other social networking businesses.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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