Ever since Facebook filed to go public in February, there’s been a lot of speculation over when, exactly, the company would make its market debut. Soon after the company filed its paperwork, Business Insider reported that bankers had blocked off the weekend of May 18-20 as a “be ready to work weekend,” which put a more specific date on the “late spring” window that analysts had predicted.

Now, according to TechCrunch, Facebook is expected to begin trading on May 17, citing “multiple sources close to the company.”

Facebook declined to comment on the report.

The blog’s sources also say that the social network will have a value of around $100 billion, and wants to raise $10 billion at a $100 billion valuation, though it could be less than that.

The exact timing of the IPO, of course, will depend on how the Securities and Exchange Commission processes the paperwork generated by the IPO, particularly after the company’s acquisition of Instagram.

The Instagram acquisition could be a good sell for bankers working on the IPO, CNET’s Paul Sloan reported, because it directly addresses one of the main risk factors Facebook listed in its S-1: a lack of a mobile strategy.

With Instagram’s base of mobile users — now 40 million strong, according to a separate TechCrunch report — Facebook has a stronger way to show potential investors that it’s working to plug that vulnerability. It still hasn’t been made clear, exactly, how Facebook will mon­etize that mobile base, ­but Sloan reports that bankers are already using Instagram as a talking point as they shop around the company’s stock.

There may have been another reason that Facebook moved to acquire Instagram ahead of going public. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg hammered out the deal with Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom in just three days, almost completely bypassing the social network’s board.

While that may be a good strategy in the start-up world, that sort of behavior may not fly in the world of blue-chip stocks, the Journal noted.

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