Facebook to halt secondary-market trades, report says

March 28, 2012

Ahead of its anticipated market debut, Facebook is reportedly stopping all trading of its shares on secondary markets. A report from Bloomberg citing unnamed “people with knowledge of the matter” said that the company will halt trading by the beginning of April to get a stable shareholder footing and keep prices from fluctuating ahead of its initial public offering.

Facebook declined to comment on the report.

The social network is expected to offer a $100 billion IPO this May and, as of late February, had an implied valuation of around $93 billion, the report said.

The company’s co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg caused his own stir on Tuesday when he was spotted on vacation in China. Facebook, famously, is banned in China, and has stated that it’s a priority to break into the country’s market to add to its 845 million-strong base of global users. Zuckerberg may be using the trip to build relationships in China.

According to a report from the AFP, Zuckerberg has said he is studying Chinese. His 2010 trip to China to meet with the head of the search engine Baidu set off rumors that the two companies were planning a partnership. The report said that Baidu was reportedly scared off by Facebook’s use in the Arab Spring protests.

His appearance in China this week has set off a similar spate of rumors, with Chinese bloggers excited about the prospect of Facebook being unblocked, the report said. They posted pictures of Zuckerberg — dressed in his normal uniform of jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and sneakers — visiting Shanghai’s art gallery district and an Apple store.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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