Facebook moves to end speculation over IPO rumours

NEW YORK - Facebook has quashed rumours that a restructuring of its share structure is part of a plan to take the company public.

The Wall Street Journal had reported a plan to create a dual-class stock structure, saying that current shareholders, which include Microsoft and Digital Sky Technologies, would be given class B investor status rather than class A. This would give them 10 times the voting power of class A investors.

Facebook has confirmed that the dual structure has been introduced but said that it was because shareholders "wanted to maintain control over voting on certain issues to help ensure the company can continue to focus on the long term to build a great business".

The statement went on to say: "This revision to the stock structure should not be construed as a signal the company is planning to go public. Facebook has no plans to go public at this time."

The company, founded by Mark Zuckerberg, has raised around $600m from investors in the past five years.

Zuckerberg recently rose to number 158 on Forbes' American rich list, with an estimated net worth of $2bn, one fifth of the social networking site's $10bn valuation.

Zuckerberg, aged 25, is the youngest person on the Forbes 400 list by 10 years.