Facebook (FB) is valuing itself at as much as $96 billion in its upcoming IPO. This reflects a valuation of 24 times sales in the past 12 months versus 5 times sales for Google (GOOG). While Facebook likely can grow revenue at a greater rate than Google over the short term, paying such a premium reduces the upside potential substantially and increases the risk. When an investor weighs the things that would have to go right for Facebook to double in value over the next several years, versus the things that could go wrong, I don’t really see how one can come away finding the opportunity to be attractive. Factors such as growth in the digital advertising market would help Google a great deal just like it would help Facebook, but the multiple for Google is far more reasonable.
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