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Facebook to list shares on Nasdaq
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Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. NDAQ +1.19% has scored the stock-market listing of Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, winning one of the most-coveted deals among the new crop of Internet companies and jockeying ahead in the race for social-media IPOs.

Securing Facebook's listing burnishes Nasdaq's reputation as the favored exchange among high-tech companies. The exchange is home to firms such as Apple Inc. AAPL +1.50% and Google Inc. GOOG -0.45% .

Shares in Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook will list on the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to the people familiar with the matter. It will trade under the symbol FB, previous filings said. Facebook is preparing its initial public offering for May, according to people familiar with the matter.

Both the Nasdaq and NYSE Euronext's NYX -1.26% New York Stock Exchange compete fiercely over listings. Last year, the intensity accelerated amid the wave of Internet IPOs from the likes of LinkedIn Inc. LNKD -0.13% and Groupon Inc. GRPN -2.48% .

"This is a strong, substantial win for Nasdaq, and no doubt a momentum builder for future listings," said Richard Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners.

Facebook's offering--which could raise $10 billion--is set to be the biggest Internet IPO since Google's in 2004.

"Winning Google further emboldened Nasdaq's reputation as being the exchange of choice for the technology companies," said Jay Frankl, senior managing director at FTI Consulting. "The Facebook listing I've seen as being similar to the Google listing, which had a similar competition between the exchanges, and a similar win for Nasdaq," Frankl said.

Nasdaq's archrival, NYSE Euronext, made gains last year in the technology space, having netted listings from LinkedIn and Pandora Media Inc. P -1.29% and from Chinese social-networking site Renren Inc. RENN +2.06% . Analysts say winning Facebook would have helped swing the pendulum heavily in the Big Board operator's favor in terms of recruiting future listings and potential transfers.

Last year was big for social-media IPOs, with companies from Angie's List to Zynga launching publicly. In 2012, the host of social-media flotations could include GlamMedia, Kayak Software and LivingSocial.

Companies pay annual fees to list their stock, and exchanges also garner listings-related income from the sale of market data and ancillary services offered to their listed companies. A company can pay as much as $500,000 annually for an NYSE listing fee, while all Nasdaq fees are capped at about $100,000.

When deciding upon which exchange to list, companies often look at the costs as well as the promotional efforts that will help increase visibility. That includes events like the NYSE's or Nasdaq's bell-ringing ceremonies. Exchanges also offer other services for needs such as investor relations.

Last year, listings and issuer services brought in about $372 million for Nasdaq OMX, accounting for about 22% of the company's revenue.

While the Facebook win will grab headlines for Nasdaq, the NYSE continues to lead in the number and value of company debuts.

This year, the NYSE has launched 24 corporate IPOs that together raised $4.9 billion, according to Dealogic. The Nasdaq has been home to 16 offerings totaling $1.3 billion.

The NYSE led last year as well, with deals raising $28 billion, while Nasdaq's corporate IPOs brought in $9.3 billion.

A raising of $10 billion in the planned IPO could value the social network as much as $100 billion, and Facebook's offering is set to top rival Google's as the largest U.S. Internet IPO. Google's 2004 offering set the record by raising $1.9 billion at a valuation of $23 billion.

Among U.S. companies, only Visa Inc. (V), General Motors Co. (GM) and AT&T Wireless have held offerings larger than $10 billion.

Media reports of the Facebook listing juiced Nasdaq's share price on Thursday. The stock closed 1.2% higher. NYSE Euronext, meanwhile, fell 1.3%.

Facebook's announced team of underwriters includes Morgan Stanley (MS), J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC), Barclays Capital Inc., and Allen & Co. Last month, Facebook added an additional 25 underwriting banks.

Facebook's choice of Nasdaq was earlier reported by CNBC and the New York Times.

Source www.marketwatch.comBy Chris Dieterich
--Alexandra Scaggs and Kaitlyn Kiernan contributed to this article.

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