Facebook prices IPO at $38 per share

NEW YORK - (AP) - Facebook's initial public offering of stock is shaping up to be one of the largest ever. The world's definitive online social network is raising at least $16 billion, a big windfall for a company that began eight years ago with no way to make money.

Facebook priced its IPO at $38 per share on Thursday, at the high end of its expected range. If extra shares reserved to cover additional demand are sold as part of the transaction, Facebook Inc. and its early investors stand to reap as much as $18.4 billion from the IPO.

The IPO values the company at around $104 billion, slightly more than Amazon.com, and well above well-known corporations such as Disney and Kraft.

The $38 is the price at which the investment banks orchestrating the offering will sell the stock to their clients. Facebook's stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market sometime Friday morning under the ticker symbol "FB." That's when so-called retail investors can try to buy the stock.

Facebook is the third-highest valued company to ever go public, according to data from Dealogic, a financial data provider. Only the two Chinese banks have been worth more. At $16 billion, the size of the IPO is the third-largest for a U.S. company, squeezed between No. 2 power company Enel and No. 4 General Motors, according to Renaissance Capital. The largest U.S. IPO was Visa, which raised $17.86 billion in 2008.

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