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Facebook makes the decision to finally go public

The world's largest social network has chosen its underwriters and filed an application to officially go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington.

It is looking to raise US$5 billion in order to make the transition from a privately to publicly listed company and start selling shares as early as May 2012.

And in one of the most hotly anticipated initial public offerings (IPO) to come from the internet and technology sector in recent years, it seems that commentators are keen to learn more about the reasons why Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg made the decision to finally go public.

American economist and former secretary of the treasury Lawrence Summers said the business decision "is a major sign of maturation" for the brand.

"It means more cash flow, it means even more visibility, it means even more responsibility to shareholders, but also to the broader society.

"It is both a recognition of what has been accomplished, and it points to the fact that Mark Zuckerberg has done a remarkable thing in building a global institution in a very short time."

But rather than simply 'growing up' – the company already has more than 500 investors – it seems that Zuckerberg and advisors pushed in favour of an IPO due to the fact that the company's finances were simply too big to keep private.

In a letter accompanying the company's formal application Zuckerberg wrote: "There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future."

"The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on … We hope to strengthen how people relate to each other."

Posted by Aimee McBride