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Facebook float could teach us a thing or two

Do you think I floated up the Lagan in a bubble? Actually, don’t answer that question, but instead let us use the widely-used local phrase to lead you into a story about a flotation which some people believe has all the makings of a bubble.

Facebook’s decision to raise money on the stock market has prompted more column inches than a US election. The Wall Street Journal has devoted pages upon pages to the Initial Public Offering (IPO) while the comments below the New York Times’ online stories are coming in faster than the Dow Jones ticker in Times Square.

It’s reckoned Facebook could value the company at $100bn, a figure which is pretty hard to fathom for the average Joe, as Mark Zuckerberg might say. To put it into perspective, that’s more than the annual output of Morocco’s economy.

Detractors are queuing up to tell the world that the hype surrounding the IPO means it will be horrifically overvalued.

They reckon Facebook isn’t far from its full potential, what with its 845 million users, a heck of a saturation of the world’s population.

Despite this, the appetite for the IPO remains unquenchable and buyers don’t seem to think it’ll go the same way as MySpace, a struggling competitor.

If the float does anything it should make more of Northern Ireland’s flourishing hi-tech companies sit up and listen.

Raising money by listing on a stock exchange is something we have been reticent to do over the years, but with finance tight it’s becoming an increasingly more attractive option.

There’s no reason why some of our superb local companies can’t be the next Facebook.

Belfast Telegraph