Was a stock scam.
In the run-up to Facebook’s IPO filling, we checked with a few data trackers for historical context. With numbers like $5 billion to $10 billion being tossed around for the likely deal size, Facebook is poised to be a pretty whopping offering. But will it be The Biggest Ever?
Nope. At $5 billion Facebook wouldn’t even crack the all-time top 20, according to Dealogic, which has the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd’s 2010 IPO in the #1 spot. That offering raised $22.1 billion. The U.S. recordholder is Visa, which raised $19.7 billion in 2008.
But Facebook should pretty easily set the record for biggest IPO by an Internet-focused company. Who holds the current record? Not Google, which raised $1.9 billion in 2004 — a U.S.record — but is only #3 on the global list.
The top spot is held by “World Online International NV,” which raised $2.8 billion in March 2000, saith Dealogic. I hadn’t heard of it, so I asked the Wikipedias. Turns out it was a total fraud. Touted as the AOL of the Netherlands, it hit all the dot-com stations of the cross: No profits, pricey celebrity ad campaigns, and executives secretly dumping stock before unloading shares on the public.