Facebook reaches one billion monthly active users

SAN FRANCISCO, Thu Oct 4, 2012 – Social media company Facebook Inc said on Thursday it reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month, and is up by 45 million users since June.

Facebook has faced a rough debut since its May initial public offering. Investors and analysts have fretted about a sharp slowdown in its revenue growth. Shares of Facebook remain well below the $38 debut price.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, hit the 1 billion milestone on September 14 at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time, the company said on its website. It added that it had 600 million mobile users, according to a fact sheet posted on its website.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show broadcast on Thursday, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was asked by co-anchor Matt Lauer about how, with 1 billion users, the company wasn’t “killing it,” making money.

“I think it depends on your definition of ‘killing it.’ I mean we are making billions of dollars,” Zuckerberg said. Facebook reported that revenue increased by 32 percent to $1.18 billion in the second quarter.

The 28-year-old CEO talked about the growth potential from mobile users. “There’s 5 billion people in the world who have phones, so we should be able to serve many more people and grow the user base there,” he said.

Investors brace for Facebook debut on Wall Street

MENLO PARK, Calif., Fri May 18, 2012 – Investors are bracing for Facebook’s Wall Street debut on Friday after the world’s No.1 online social network raised about $16 billion in one of the biggest initial public offerings in U.S. history.

Valued at $104 billion, Facebook is larger than Starbucks Corp and Hewlett-Packard combined, sparking intense speculation on how much higher its valuation will rise once shares start trading.

“A 15 to 20 percent pop is in the realm of possibility,” said Tim Loughran, a finance professor at the University of Notre Dame. “Given they already moved their IPO range up and increased the size, that’s bullish to begin with.”

Facebook priced its offering at $38 a share on Thursday, but the price could be higher when shares begin trading under the FB symbol on the Nasdaq at around 11 a.m. Eastern Time.

Some expect shares could rise 30 percent or more on Friday, despite ongoing concerns about Facebook’s long-term money-making potential. An average of Morningstar analyst estimates puts the closing price for Facebook shares tomorrow at $50.

The IPO, expected to mint more than a thousand paper millionaires at the company, has received wall-to-wall media coverage and sparked hopes of a boom in sales of everything from San Francisco Bay Area real estate to automobiles.

Facebook employees marked the event with an all-night “hackathon” at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters starting on Thursday evening, a tradition in which programmers work on side projects that sometimes turn into mainstream offerings.

Fannie Mae seeks $4.6 billion in aid after fourth-quarter loss

WASHINGTON – Fannie Mae, the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, on Wednesday said it would seek $4.6 billion in additional federal aid after reporting a fourth-quarter loss.

The government-controlled mortgage finance firm earlier Wednesday posted a loss of $2.4 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31. That pushed Fannie Mae’s loss for 2011 to $16.9 billion from $14.0 billion a year earlier, the company said.

Fannie Mae’s pre-2009 book of loans and declining home prices continues to make it difficult for the firm to turn a profit.

“We think that we have reserved for and recognized substantially all of the credit losses associated with the legacy book,” said Susan McFarland, executive vice president and chief financial officer in an interview.

The government seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together back roughly half of all outstanding U.S. mortgages, in September 2008 as losses from failing home loans threatened the agencies’ solvency.

Fannie Mae has borrowed more than $116 billion from the government and paid almost $20 billion in the form of dividends.

“We’re very focused on returning to profitability so we don’t have to draw (from Treasury) to cover operating losses,” said McFarland.

Freddie Mac, which hasn’t yet reported fourth-quarter results, has received more than $71 billion in government aid and paid back about $15 billion as of the third quarter.

Fannie Mae’s credit-related expenses were $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $4.3 billion a year earlier and $4.9 billion in the third quarter.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t lend to consumers. Rather, they buy and insure mortgages from banks to allow lenders to make more loans.

In the fourth quarter, the firm’s provision for credit losses and foreclosed-property expenses rose to $4.7 billion from $4.5 billion in the third quarter. Its provision for loan losses narrowed to $18.7 billion from $23.6 billion a year ago.

Boeing signs record $22.4 billion commercial order with Lion Air

CHICAGO – Boeing Co said on Tuesday it signed its largest ever commercial airplane order with Indonesia’s Lion Air in a deal worth $22.4 billion.

Boeing said Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest carrier by passenger volume, has ordered 230 airplanes, including 201 737 MAXs and 29 next-generation 737-900 ERs.

Lion Air will also acquire purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes, Boeing said.

The announcement was made in a statement at the Singapore airshow.

In November, Lion Air announced the original massive order during U.S. President Barack Obama’s Asia-Pacific tour. Europe’s Airbus had accused the United States of applying political pressure to secure the deal.

Zynga plans up to $1 billion in IPO, according to report

SAN FRANCISCO ― Facebook games developer Zynga Inc. will sell about 15 percent of its common stock in an initial public offering, Bloomberg said, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

Zynga plans to sell shares for $8.50 to $10 apiece in its initial public offering to raise as much as $1 billion, valuing the company at as high as $7 billion, the agency said.

Dani Dudeck, a spokeswoman for Zynga, declined to comment to Reuters on the Bloomberg report.

Zynga rose to prominence on viral games such as “Farmville,” which is still among one of the most popular games on the Facebook social network. While its games are free, Zynga makes money from selling virtual items such as tractors and weapons that people use in its game worlds.