Funny Business with Jane Wells

Can't Get in on the Facebook IPO, How About a Real Gamble?

Photo by: Conor Ogle

Betting on the Super Bowl? Beyond our borders, Sunday's game is viewed by many as an amusing American obsession.

Facebook, however, is another matter.

It's an obsession shared by nearly 850 million people around the world. Every day tens of millions more people use Facebook in Europe than in the U.S.

Who cares whether some guy named Eli can beat Giselle Bundchen's husband? An Irish-based betting company is offering people a chance to bet on something closer to their hearts: Facebook's IPO share price.

Paddy Power, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, says most bettors don't expect Facebook sharesto be a bargain when they debut later this year.

"Fortunately for creator Mark Zuckerberg, it’s an unlikely 10/1 with Paddy Power that the initial price will be less than $25 per share," says the website's press release.

The most likely price range is $35-$44.99, at 10/11 odds. That's about less than one tenth the current price of a share of e , and much cheaper than Google's IPO price of $85 eight years ago. (Remember when some people thought Google was pricing itself too high? HA HA HA HA..heh. Sigh. I think I secretly agreed with them at the time.)

Other current odds Paddy Power is providing for Facebook's IPO:

  • $25-$34.99: 7/2
  • $45-$54.99: 9/4
  • $55-$64.99: 7/1
  • Over $65: 9/2

(Reminder: online gambling remains illegal in the U.S. For now.)

Paddy Power is also placing odds on who will ring the opening bell when Facebook goes public. The no-brainer, at 1/100 odds, is co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. I'd make those odds 1/1,000,000, since I figure the chance of Zuckerberg getting struck by lightning over the next few weeks or months is a million to one.

But wait, there's more!

Might Sean Parker join Zuckerberg at the opening bell? Odds are 25/1 he will, says Paddy Power. I personally would rather see Justin Timberlake, who played Parker in "The Social Network." My estimated odds of that happening? 500/1.

Microsoft is an investor in Facebook, though it's also listed as a competitor in the social network's IPO filing. Odds at Paddy Power are 50/1 that Bill Gates will be with Zuckerberg at the opening bell.

Finally, Bono also owns a portion of Facebook. Odds are a whopping 100/1 that he will be there on opening day. Really? Too bad. I would "like" that.

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