Facebook Inc. FB 0.00% is nearing the last step before its landmark initial public offering by finalizing the price for its shares later Thursday.
The social network earlier this week raised the price range for its IPO to $34 to $38 a share, from $28 to $35 a share, in a sign of investor appetite for the offering. The initial price range put Facebook's valuation at $77 billion to $96 billion, but that rises to $93 billion to $104 billion under the new range as investor interest ramps up.
At a potential offering size of $18.4 billion, Facebook would become the second-largest U.S. IPO of all time behind Visa Inc.'s V -0.45% 2008 offering worth $19.65 billion, according to Dealogic. It could exceed Visa if the share price ultimately lands at $41 a share or higher.
Facebook's IPO is a crowning moment for Silicon Valley's latest tech boom. Last year, Web companies from LinkedIn Corp., LNKD -5.89% Groupon Inc. GRPN -4.75% and Zynga Inc. ZNGA -0.96% went public in the first sustained drumbeat of Internet offerings for years.
That has continued this year, with Internet companies such as Yelp Inc. going public, while enterprise-technology companies such as Splunk Inc. also staged strong IPOs. Other Web companies that are still closely held, such as Twitter Inc. and Dropbox Inc., are viewed as possible IPO candidates in the future.
Facebook said Wednesday it would boost the size of its IPO by 25%, or about 100 million shares, as early investors sell as much as $3.8 billion in additional shares. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS +0.19% Tiger Global Management and Facebook director Peter Thiel—who was one of the social network's first investors—more than doubled the amount of stock they plan to sell.