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Facebook share offering rises 25%

Facebook has said that 25% more shares will be sold as investors clamour for a piece of the year's hottest stock offering.

Facebook said in a regulatory filing that about 421 million shares will be sold, up from 337 million under earlier plans. That total does not include more than 63 million additional shares the deal's underwriters can sell to cover excess demand.

The news comes the day after Facebook raised the expected price range for the stock to 34 to 38 US dollars per share, up from 28 to 35 dollars.

The offering is expected to set the final price on Thursday evening. Shares would start trading on the Nasdaq on Friday under the "FB" ticker symbol.

If all the shares, including those being offered to the underwriters, are sold at the high end of the expected price range, the social network's offering could raise more than 18.4 billion dollars (£11.5 billion). That would make Facebook one of the biggest ever initial public offerings (IPOs).

The company's IPO is the most hotly anticipated in years and would value Facebook overall at more than 100 billion dollars (£62 billion).

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook said the extra shares being made available are coming from its current shareholders. The selling shareholders are offering approximately 241 million shares, up from about 157 million. Facebook will not receive any proceeds from the stock sold by the selling shareholders.

The regulatory filing also disclosed that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will control about 55.8% of the voting power of the company's outstanding capital stock following the offering. This is down slightly from the 57.3% he was initially expected to have.

Facebook has more than 900 million users who log in at least once a month.

Morgan Stanley leads the team of 33 underwriters selected for the Facebook offering, followed by JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

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