Facebook’s financials have been leaked (finally), which is to be expected given the company’s IPO trajectory. I have to agree with Business Insider’s assessment of this: ‘The numbers look a little light.’
There’s no shortage of celebration across the web right now, as Facebook is said to be on track to earnings of $1.2 bn for 2011. For the first three quarters, Facebook raked in $2.5 bn top line. These are strong numbers, but they fall far short of expectations.
The rumor swirling about Facebook a least since this summer was that the company would generate $2 bn in EBITDA on more than $4 bn in revenue ($4.27 bn being the eMarketer forecast). To hit the top line target, Facebook would have to pull off a Q4 with more than $1.5 bn in sales. It’s a possibility, but it’s certainly not a sure thing.
At margins based on $2.5 mn top line/$1 bn bottom line, a $1.5 bn Q4 would translate to an additional $720 mn in earnings, bringing the company up to around $1.92 bn for the year – well beyond acceptable, but still a tad short of the $2 bn target.
Here’s what Gawker provides from an inside source at Facebook:
Assets: $5.6 billion
Cash/cash equivalents: $3.5 billion
Shareholder equity: $4.5 billion
Operating cashflow: $1 billion
Revenue: $2.5 billion
Operating income: $1.2 billion
Net income: $714 million
Now, the cash on hand is an interesting data point in all this. The company is sitting on $3.5 bn, which will likely be augmented by the company’s projected $10 bn capital raise at IPO next year (and whatever cash it is able to generate in Q4 this year). That’s a healthy amount of money, but it also comes with an obligation: Facebook has to make that cash productive. For a company that doesn’t have much of a track record as a deal maker (with the recent exception of its Gowalla, which was already beaten by Foursquare and which made the acquisition shooting fish in a barrel).
Facebook has a lot of work to do before its IPO, and generating top line has to be its top priority at this point: it needs to prove that its business can scale as its user base has … which may seem easy in theory, but reality has brought its own perspective right to us.
Photos: Kevin Cortopassi via Flickr