New York: Facebook announced a price of USD 38 per share for its record-setting initial public offering, which gives the leading social network a market value of USD 104 billion.
   
The shares will begin trading on Friday under the symbol "FB" on the Nasdaq, the company said yesterday in a statement announcing the richest-ever technology IPO and second biggest for a US firm.
   
The announcement comes amid keen anticipation among investors for a piece of the world's biggest social network, which grew from a Harvard dormitory project in 2004 to more than 900 million members.
   
Facebook said some 421 million shares of its common stock will be sold at a price of USD 38 per share. Facebook itself is offering 180 million and holders of previous shares selling 241 million.
   
A so-called over-allotment of up to 63 million shares will be made available to the underwriters, a consortium of investment banks including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and others.
   
That will mean one of the biggest IPOs for a US firm, raising between USD 16 billion and USD 18.4 billion, behind only that of financial giant Visa in 2008, according to Renaissance Capital.
   
Under the share plan, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg will hold 55.8 percent of the voting power. The 28-year-old controls the firm through a dual class stock structure and certain shares that give him a "proxy" for voting.
   
Wall Street and investors around the globe have been girding for a frenzy for Facebook shares with investors hungry for a piece of the social network's share offering.
   
In the past few days, Facebook boosted the estimated price for the shares, and added to the number of shares being offered from insiders.
   
London bookmakers were anticipating a stampede for shares. At the betting firm Spreadex, clients have been speculating that shares could rise above USD 56 after their first day.

(Agencies)

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