FACEBOOK frenzy is spreading ahead of the company's big-time stock market debut, with anything from Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie to the billion-dollar buy of Instagram sparking controversy.
Speculation about the promise or pitfalls of owning a piece of the world's leading social network was so feverish by the weekend that one report contended there was too much demand for the stock while another said it was lacking.
Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public, has been on an intense marketing drive ahead of its expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18.
In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook set a price range of $28 to $35 for its shares, which would value the firm at between $70 billion and $87.5 billion.
When Google went public in 2004, its valuation was $23 billion, and now it has a market value of $200 billion.
Some are offended by the price set for Facebook, a site founded by Zuckerberg just eight years ago from his Harvard dorm room. Still only 27, he will retain 57.3 per cent of the voting power of the shares.
Others expected better - some analysts predicted a price of $44 a share in the short term, and a much higher figure in the long term.
At the midpoint of the price range, the sale of 337 million shares would generate $10.6 billion, making Facebook's offering the largest IPO of a tech firm.
Despite the intense spotlight on Facebook coffers swelling with a stock sale, analysts agree that for most of the social network's more than 900 million users, the focus will be on changes to the service ù not ownership of the firm.