Facebook IPO: Delayed to Keep Workers from Leaving

Facebook will be pushing back its initial public offering until late 2012 in order to keep its workers focused on innovation rather than cashing out.

The report by the Financial Times said that it was no less than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who decided to push back the IPO to keep employees from flying the Facebook coop.

While Facebook has been faring relatively well on this front compared to its competitors, some employees are getting keen to cash out in an IPO, according to a person close to the company. Mr Zuckerberg hopes to keep such personnel on staff through next summer in order to complete certain product rollouts, this person said.

The New York Times denies this report, saying in a bigger story about Groupon that its unnamed sources say the Facebook IPO is still on for April 2012.

While either report could be true or false, we do tend to like the FT report because it shows us the inner workings of a successful Silicon Valley company and worries a CEO would have once a startup prepares to go public. Many of its best workers will cash out and start their own competing businesses (or retire) and are probably using much of their mental energy on how they will spend the money rather than concentrating on their jobs.

But perhaps the biggest worry should be that if a lot of employees cash out, Zuckerberg could easily lose control of his own company. And that might be the most frightening thing of all.

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