It looks like Europe is in love with Facebook…First the Samwer Brothers invested in the company, and now reports that Nokia is joining the round, too.
On the content side, offering a Nokia mobile specific version of Facebook will be a positive in driving Facebook use on the mobile web. MySpace has gone down the path of carrier deals, where as a Facebook/ Nokia deal would be carrier agnostic, and given that Nokia is still the largest cell phone provider worldwide the deal would spread Facebook into new markets.
The investment side isn’t that surprising given how many companies have now bought into the Facebook phenomenon. The remarkable part is how many companies are willing to invest in Facebook at a $15 billion valuation. At best Facebook may be worth even more than that, particularly when you consider sites like Baidu have a market cap in excess of $9 billion.
We don’t know when Facebook may move to an IPO; in his 60 Minutes interview a week ago Mark Zuckerberg said that it might be this year, or next year, or even 2010. What we do know is that an IPO in the current market will unlikely provide a strong valuation for Facebook. Since the beginning of year markets worldwide have taken a hammering, with the market in Australia at least recording its worst new year drop in history according to some reports. Google stock is down from its $741 peak to $600 a share. My prediction is that unless the market picks up (and that’s unlikely given all the US recession talk) Facebook wont IPO this year. 2009/ 2010 at the earliest, presuming that the market eventually recovers.