NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook has set a price range of $28 to $35 for its initial public offering of stock.
At the high end, this could raise as much as $11.8 billion. If the underwriters sell the extra stock reserved for overallotments, the IPO will value Facebook at $79.3 billion at the high end of the price range.
That's much higher than any other Internet IPO in the past, even Google Inc. in 2004, which raised $1.9 billion. The range came in a regulatory filing Thursday.
After that, Facebook will go on an "IPO roadshow," where executives talk to potential investors about why they should invest in the stock. If all goes well, Facebook's stock is expected to price on May 17 and make its public debut on May 18.
Facebook's IPO has been highly anticipated, not just because of how much money it will raise but because Facebook itself is so popular. The world's largest online social network has more than 900 million users worldwide.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who turns 28 this month, has emerged as a wunderkind leader who's led Facebook through unprecedented growth from its scrappy start as a hangout for Harvard students.
Zuckerberg will keep tight control over the company even after the IPO. He will control about 58 percent of the company's voting power, through stocks he owns or because other shareholders have promised to vote his way through shares that they own. This means he will have final say over the biggest decisions facing the company even after it goes public.
Zuckerberg will own 31.5 percent of Facebook's outstanding stock after the IPO. At the high end of the expected price range, this will make his holdings worth $17.6 billion. This would put him at around No. 33 of the Forbes lists of the world's richest people, above the likes of Michael Dell and Steve Ballmer.
Facebook's expected valuation will easily surpass well-known corporations such as Kraft Foods Inc.