The new price range is above the previous $28 to $35 guide, making Facebook the most valuable company ever to go public in the US. However, US carmaker General Motors has now stopped advertising on the social network site, paying around $10m for the ad space yet believing they were having little effect on consumers.
Meanwhile, Founder Mark Zuckerberg said he plans to raise $12.8bn by selling 12.3% of the company, as well as implying that the companies overall worth is $104.2bn.
Analysts have also reported that due to such huge interest in the Facebook stock, some underwriters had to close their order books on Tuesday. The floation is being marketed by 33 underwriters from companies such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. A final price is expected on Thursday.
"They're swamped with the orders that are in," said Jon Merriman of investment firm Merriman Holdings, in San Francisco. "They just need time to determine the price. They can send the message – the books are closing, send in your orders now."
Investors small and large have been vying for the stock before its Nasdaq debut, but only those with large accounts at leading investment banks or top brokers are likely to succeed.
Smaller players such as 11-year-old Jade Supple, whose father is planning to bet her college savings on Facebook shares, will have to wait until Friday. Jim Supple, whose fortunes have been followed by the Wall Street Journal alongside other would-be Facebook stockholders since February, has been teaching his daughter about the shares and started investing money for her in eBay and Disney when she was a baby. After she asked him during a drive last autumn: "Daddy, can I buy some of the Facebook company?" Supple tried to buy stock from Facebook employees during a January auction on the secondary markets, but the price went too high.
They will now have to take their chance on Nasdaq once the company starts trading under the "FB" symbol. The tactic is risky. Demand can force new stock to spike sharply, before early investors pull out and the price crashes back down to earth.
Recent tech listings Groupon, the coupons website, and games group Zynga are trading below their offer price. Groupon has lost about 35% of its value since its November listing, while Zynga floated at $10 but closed on Monday at $7.95. "Despite the doubts, the buyers like what they're hearing," said Professor Erik Gordon at University of Michigan business school of Facebook's pre-float investor roadshow.
At the upper end of the new range, Facebook will be priced at 26 times the past 12 months' sales, more than double Google's valuation when the search-engine operator went public in 2004. Google raised just under $2bn in 2004, while Zynga's float drummed up $1bn.
Facebook made $3.7bn in revenue and $1bn in profits last year, but both were down in the first quarter compared with the Christmas period, a drop attributed to seasonal trends in advertising. Facebook declined to comment.
Source: The Guardian