Zuckerberg praised ahead of Facebook IPO

2012-05-18 11:39
As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touts the social network's IPO, General Motors announced that it was pulling Facebook advertising. (Paul Sakuma, AP)

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touts the social network's IPO, General Motors announced that it was pulling Facebook advertising. (Paul Sakuma, AP)

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Singapore - Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin on Friday lauded Mark Zuckerberg for making the world a "more open and connected place", hours before the social network's anticipated share offer.

Away from the spotlight of the initial public offering (IPO) in New York, the Singapore-based Saverin reminisced about early years of the site, which began in a Harvard University dorm in 2004.

"On the eve of the Facebook public float, eight plus years in the making, I as co-founder wanted to look back and cherish Facebook's early beginning," said Saverin in a post on Facebook.

"Congrats to everyone involved in the project from day one till today," he wrote.

"I especially wanted to congratulate Mark Zu[c]kerberg on keeping tremendous stead-fast focus, however hard that was, on making the world a more open and connected place."

Initial funds

Saverin linked his post to an image of Facebook's early interface that contained the site's original name "thefacebook".

The site was described at that time as "an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges and universities" - a much more humble ambition for a site that now boasts 900 million users worldwide.

Facebook stock priced at $38 per share was to begin trading under the symbol "FB" on the Nasdaq, giving the world's leading social network a dizzying value of $104bn at its IPO.

Saverin's relationship with Zuckerberg - who will retain a majority of voting rights after the IPO - was famously portrayed in the 2010 film The Social Network.

Saverin was an economics major at Harvard when he set up Facebook with Zuckerberg and two other students.

He had provided the initial funds for the site, but apparently left Facebook after an acrimonious split with Zuckerberg.

The website "Who Owns Facebook?" estimated that Saverin continues to hold a 4% stake in the site, while Forbes has estimated his net worth to be $2bn.

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