Social media giant Facebook says it is raising the price of the company stock it is offering to the public.
The Internet-based social network site had initially said the more than 337 million shares of stock it is selling would be priced between $28 and $35 a share. But with strong demand for the stock from large institutional investors, Facebook said Tuesday it is boosting that range to between $34 and $38 a share.
Facebook plans to set the exact price Thursday, and start selling stock on Friday.
With the sale of more than 12 percent ownership of the company to the public, Facebook could raise more than $12 billion.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who turned 28 on Monday, started the company eight years ago in his college dorm room at Harvard. He will still own 57 percent of the company's voting stock, even after selling some of his shares to meet U.S. tax obligations.
But a co-founder, Brazilian-born Eduardo Saverin, says he is renouncing his U.S. citizenship and taking up residency in Singapore in order to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxes on the 4 percent stake he has in the company. Unlike the U.S., Singapore has no tax on profits made from the sale of stock in a company.
While large investors have voiced widespread interest in buying Facebook shares, not everyone is convinced an investment in the company will prove worthwhile.
A new survey in the U.S. by the Associated Press and the CNBC television network showed that half of those polled thought that use of Facebook is a passing fad, and that its stock price is too high. Younger people, among Facebook's biggest adherents, viewed the stock offering more favorably than older people who have been much less frequent users of the web site.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.