Financial services giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are said to be the front-runners for the role of lead investment banker in Facebook's much-awaited blockbuster initial public offering next year, a media report said.
Touted as one of the biggest IPOs in over a decade, Facebook's stock sale of about USD 10 billion is expected to take place in early 2012.
With the California company planning to file offer documents in early 2012, a decision on bankers "could be soon", a report in the Wall Street Journal said.
Goldman and Morgan Stanley are "considered front-runners" for the lead investment-banking role, which could net the bankers anywhere up to USD 220 million in IPO fees as well as "bragging rights" for managing the trophy IPO.
The fee for IPOs like Facebook's stock sale -- which could be as big as USD 10 billion, valuing the company at 100 billion dollars -- averages 2.2 per cent.
"That would mean a possible total payoff of as much as USD 220 million, though the company could negotiate lower fees because the Facebook deal is such a trophy," the Wall Street Journal report said.
The report quoted people in-the-know as saying that some bankers have been "waiting by the phone" over the holidays for the call that they will be participating in the company's IPO in some way.
Facebook executives have been meeting with Wall Street firms since late November as they geared up for the IPO, according to people familiar with the situation.
"Goldman and Morgan face stiff competition from rival investment banks vying for the prize of becoming the lead manager. Still, both are seen as having a leg up on
competitors, even though each has possible knocks against them," the report added.
While Goldman orchestrated a USD 1.5 billion private offering of Facebook shares in January, Morgan Stanley has been the leading bank for internet IPOs this year in the US and worldwide.
The report said Goldman Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein "went to woo" at least one Facebook board member earlier this fall.