The biggest takeaway from Facebook’s updated filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission is that the company will not be able to rely on adding new users at breakneck speed as a way of boosting revenue.
It’s a fact that Facebook readily concedes.
“Historically, our user growth has been a primary driver of growth in our revenue,” the company said in its fourth update to the S-1 notice it originally filed in February. “We expect that our user growth and revenue growth rates will decline as the size of our active user base increases and as we achieve higher market penetration rates.”
There were relatively few surprises in the document: Facebook released more details of its Instagram purchase, saying it had paid $300 million in cash and 23 million shares. It also said U.S. and Canadian users made up 50% of its revenue on the first quarter ending March 31, down from 54% a year ago.
Facebook broke the 900 million user mark during the quarter, about five months after it reached the 800 million user mark. That pace had slowed slightly, as it took Facebook just three months to grow from 700 million to 800 million users. In the filing, Facebook said each of its 901 million users was worth $1.21, up 6% from a year ago.
Otherwise, it was business as usual for the company that may be valued at more than $100 billion after its shares start trading publicly next month (according to Facebook, it’s current share price on private markets puts the company’s value at $77 billion). Revenue in the three months ending March 31 was up from the period a year ago, but net income fell to $205 million in the first quarter, down from $233 million a year ago. Facebook attributed the dip to higher operating costs.
And if the pace of user growth and net income had dropped, the penetration of Facebook did not. The company said it had 532 million daily active users in the first quarter, up from 372 million a year ago.
The company did confirm that it would trade on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol FB, which had already been widely reported. Facebook did not, however, give a date for the IPO, which is widely believed to be set for May 16, 17 or 24.