MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg rang the Nasdaq opening bell Friday from his Silicon Valley headquarters, kicking off the social network giant's highly-anticipated market debut.
Facebook shares are expected to officially begin trading around 11:00am ET.
A beaming Zuckerberg, dressed in his trademark hoodie, marked the start of the Nasdaq trading day before a crowd of enthusiastic employees and other onlookers in the courtyard of the Menlo Park, Calif. campus. The Harvard dropout appeared ecstatic, sharing a hug with the company's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who stood beside Zuckerberg during the ceremonial bell ringing.
Meanwhile, across the country, spectators began lining up outside the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York City's Times Square, hoping to get a glimpse of Facebook's opening trade.
Facebook priced its initial public offering (IPO) at $38 a share Thursday, the top end of its range, indicating tremendous investor appetite for one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) in US history.
At $38 a share, Facebook is valued at $104 billion, the biggest-ever valuation by an American company at the time of its offering.
Zuckerberg, who turned 28 on Monday, has much to celebrate with the historic IPO. His cut of Facebook is worth about $19.25 billion at the listing price, but his personal fortune could more than double if Facebook's shares explode in their first day of trading, as many investors speculate.
Zuckerberg showed no signs of fatigue when he rang the bell at 6:30am local time Friday, even after he reportedly burned the midnight oil with fellow employees during one of the company's all-night "hackathons" to mark the historic stock debut.
Engineers were expected to spend the evening coding freely, encouraged to build anything that comes to mind and replicating one of the company's beloved traditions.
"We hack, therefore we are," one Facebook adage reads.