Facebook Nearing Its IPO Price. Here’s Why

Harriet Taylor | CNBC

Harriet Taylor | CNBC

Fourteen and a half months after its disastrous initial public offering, Facebook is trading Monday within 40 cents of its IPO $38 mark. Why now?

1. Mobile Games Publishing, a program Facebook announced Monday that will help small and midsize developers distribute their games.

Though just a pilot program, Mobile Games illustrates steps Facebook is taking to generate revenue from areas outside advertising. Taking a cut of partners’ gaming revenue, the company will deliver targeted ads, analytics tools and the ability to work with Facebook’s gaming department.

In its blog announcing the news, Facebook said, “We are invested in the success of these games, and in exchange for a revenue share, we will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them attract high-quality long-term players for their games. We’ll also be sharing analytics tools and the expertise we’ve gained from helping games grow on our platform for more than six years.”

2. Earnings results weren’t just better than expected but show Facebook executing in all the major areas about which Wall Street has been nervous. Revenue growth is accelerating, and the company is generating more money from its mobile users than expected. It also disclosed some impressive numbers on its ad campaigns’ return-on-investment.

Perhaps most important, CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t hesitate to address widespread concerns.

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And investors took note of the fact that Facebook’s upside surprise stands in sharp contrast to Google’s disappointing results, indicating that the former’s social and mobile ads are gaining more traction.

3. Analysts have been speculating that Facebook will be added to the S&P 500 index within the next year, which would significantly broaden the company’s investor base.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan noted that such a move would have Facebook following in the footsteps of Google, which was added 18 months after its IPO.

—Follow Julia Boorstin on Twitter: @JBoorstin

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