Now valued more than AT&T, Coke. In the days after its infamously mishandled initial public offering in May 2012, it looked as if Facebook would struggle to become a must-own for fund managers. Now the company’s $190 billion market value makes it bigger than such bellwethers as Coca-Cola and AT&T. It’s not a member of the Dow industrials, but if it were, it would be larger than two-thirds of that index’s 30 members. Shares of the world’s No. 1 social network touched a record high of $76.74 last week after earnings and revenues easily topped analysts’ forecasts, boosting its market value to nearly $194 billion. That ranks it 15th in the Standard & Poor’s 500 benchmark index, just below the $196 billion market cap of International Business Machines Corp. “A 100-year-old company with real assets versus a company admittedly with virtual assets and they are trading at the same market cap – crazy,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
The speed of Facebook’s rise to mega-cap status is what’s notable. It took Apple Inc. nearly three decades to achieve such a market value; Google Inc. needed five years. Facebook has only been public for a little more than two years, and only joined the S&P 500 seven months ago. Since S&P Dow Jones Indices announced the addition on Dec. 11, Facebook shares have risen 54 percent. The gains represent a reversal of fortune for the social media company. After a botched IPO that infuriated investors in May 2012, the stock slumped, underperforming for 15 months before finally eclipsing its offering price of $38 in August 2013. Since then, Facebook shares have been unstoppable, doubling in less than a year.