Facebook Said To Halt Secondary-Market Trading To Prepare For IPO

It's (reportedly) two months away, but Facebook is halting the trading of its shares on secondary markets by the beginning of April as it prepares for its initial public offering (IPO).

Bloomberg report that representatives of the company have instructed firms that help investors buy and sell stock in closely held companies to cease trading of its equity this week. Facebook, which filed to raise $5 billion in the largest-ever Internet public-market début back in February, is actively traded on secondary markets, including SharePost Inc. and SecondMarked Inc.

The halt would give the company time to account for its shareholding base and would end any price fluctuations as it determines its IPO valuation with bankers and investors.

SharesPost moved the date of its Facebook-share auction forward from April 2nd to March 30th. The company said in a note to clients that: "At Facebook's request, SharesPost will cease facilitating transactions in Facebook's stock as of Friday end of day to help ensure the company's orderly transition into the public markets."

Facebook's implied value had dropped from $98 billion to about $93 billion in a late-February auction of a fund that holds shares of its stock. The sale set a price of $40 apiece for 125,000 units of the fund, according to SharesPost, which managed the auction. Facebook still intends to hold its IPO in early May.