Facebook valued at $33 billion

Shares trading hands at double 2010 start price

Social media website Facebook is now worth $33 billion (£21.3bn), financial experts have revealed.

The website's shares have jumped up to $76 each since the start of the year, representing an increase close to 100 per cent, and calculators now estimate Facebook is worth more than eBay and Dell.

By the end of the year, the site is expected to have generated $1.29bn in advertising revenue alone, as companies come to appreciate the value of getting their wares seen on the popular portal through either sidebar ads or applications.

Ready to float

Having recently acquired the 500 millionth Facebook member, and weathered a storm regarding its controversial privacy policy, it has been largely speculated that founder Mark Zuckerberg will be floating the company on the stock market within the next two years.

Richard Holway from TechMarketView told the Guardian that larger companies should consider making a move for Facebook as soon as possible. He said:

"If I was on the board of either Microsoft or Apple, I would seriously consider bidding for Facebook. Microsoft could used Facebook as a portal for all their cloud services. They could include MS Office, and a prominent Bing search box."

Zuckerberg has previously decided against accepting a $1bn takeover bid from Yahoo!, but did sell a 1.6 per cent share to Microsoft for $240 million three years ago.