After months of speculation, Facebook has officially filed for an IPO, paving the way for the company to become publicly traded for the first time.

The social networking giant will seek to raise $5 billion in cash with an Initial Public Offering of shares later this year.

The company, which now boasts over 800m members, did not specify the number of shares it will be offering or the price per share.

The floatation could value the company at anywhere between $75 and $100 billion.

Answering to shareholders

The IPO will be managed by a host of US financial institutions with Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc and Allen & Co. all on board.

Facebook going public will see the maverick company and its single-minded CEO Mark Zuckerberg answer to shareholders for the first time.

However, if you think the Facebook IPO is simply a concern for the money men and has nothing to do with us simple 'end users' then have a read of TechRadar's Kate Solomon's column on the end of Facebook as we know it.

Latest tech giant to go public

Facebook's impending floatation on the stock market, which isn't likely to go through for next few months, makes it the latest in a series of high profile tech companies to begin selling shares.

Daily deal service Groupon, professional networking service LinkedIn, social gaming site Zynga and internet radio company Pandora all made a public offering in 2011.

Will Twitter be next in line?

Via: Bloomberg