Reports from CNBC today indicated Facebook are readying themselves for an IPO in early 2012. A Facebook IPO would be amongst the largest in history. To give you perspective it could be as much as $100 billion – four times that of Google’s IPO in 2004!!

Facebook have to publicly report their financial data in May next year regardless of going public or not. Couple that with the furore around social media and the IPO timing seems logical.

Goldman Sachs are likely to manage the affair after developing a close relationship with Facebook through significant recent investment.

I think Facebook will hit heady heights but fail to bank the over zealous multiples that Linkedin and RenRen benefited from.  The reason for this is I believe we face severe global economic headwinds that will test our appetite for risk. These headwinds include the hangover from the credit crunch, the European sovereign debt crisis, unrest in North Africa/Middle East, a slow down in China, a commodities boom, supply chain disruption from Japan and a squeeze on the disposable incomes in western nations.