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Facebook nearing its IPO price. Here's why

Facebook headquarters
Harriet Taylor | CNBC
Facebook headquarters

Fourteen and a half months after its disastrous initial public offering, Facebook came within four cents Tuesday of its IPO $38 mark. Why now?

1. Mobile Games Publishing, a program Facebook announced Monday that will help small and midsize developers distribute their games.

Though just a pilot program, Mobile Games illustrates steps Facebook is taking to generate revenue from areas outside advertising. Taking a cut of partners' gaming revenue, the company will deliver targeted ads, analytics tools and the ability to work with Facebook's gaming department.

In its blog announcing the news, Facebook said, "We are invested in the success of these games, and in exchange for a revenue share, we will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them attract high-quality long-term players for their games. We'll also be sharing analytics tools and the expertise we've gained from helping games grow on our platform for more than six years."

2. Earnings results weren't just better than expected but show Facebook executing in all the major areas about which Wall Street has been nervous. Revenue growth is accelerating, and the company is generating more money from its mobile users than expected. It also disclosed some impressive numbers on its ad campaigns' return-on-investment.

Perhaps most important, CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn't hesitate to address widespread concerns.

(Read more: Facebook earnings beat; shares jump 20%)

And investors took note of the fact that Facebook's upside surprise stands in sharp contrast to Google's disappointing results, indicating that the former's social and mobile ads are gaining more traction.

(Read more: Microsoft, Google disappoint; shares pay the price)

3. Analysts have been speculating that Facebook will be added to the S&P 500 index within the next year, which would significantly broaden the company's investor base.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan noted that such a move would have Facebook following in the footsteps of Google, which was added 18 months after its IPO.

After coming within pennies of the IPO price, Facebook shares closed Monday at $37.63 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. What's the stock doing now? Click here for the latest quote.

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.