The all-time biggest Internet IPO ever …

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.

The founder was ousted in disgrace just one month after the IPO, and World Online was de-listed the next year. It’s been dead for more than a decade. 

Caveat emptor, bubble buyers. -Stacy 

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