Facebook bolsters IPO hopes with $500m first-half profits

City A.M. Reporter
SOCIAL network Facebook’s revenue doubled to $1.6bn (£1bn) in the first half of the year, it emerged last night.

Net income in the first half of 2011 came to almost $500m, according to Reuters. The figures underscore the site’s appeal to advertisers while it grapples with intensifying competition from the likes of Google and looks ahead to a public offering in 2012.

Facebook’s stronger results come as investors have pushed its valuation to roughly $80bn in private markets, with many industry observers expecting the world’s biggest social network to go public next year.

It was not clear what portion of Facebook’s $1.6bn in revenue in the first half of the year came from advertising sales. Facebook also gets a 30 per cent cut of sales of virtual goods, such as digital cars or animals, that enhance the experience in social games such as FarmVille.

In January, Facebook said it had raised $1.5bn from investors including Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, as well as through a private offering to overseas investors conducted by Goldman Sachs.