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Why Wait for IPO, When You Can Buy Facebook’s Friends Today
CNBC.com | February 01, 2012 | 07:18 PM EST

Anxious investors not wanting to wait for Facebook’s public debut, which is expected in the second quarter, are buying up shares of companies that stand to benefit from the social-networking giant's mega-IPO.

Shares of application makers Zynga have rallied 13 percent in 2012 as reports on the timing and size of the IPO began to come out. Beijing-based social network platform Renren is up 50 percent so far this year as investors snap up global social network players. GSV Capital Corp., a major holder of private shares in Facebook, is up more than 20 percent in 2011.

“The app guys benefit hugely if Facebook ever gets serious about making money,” said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. “They need Facebook to give users a reason to register a credit card, then purchases become ‘one-click’ orders. That will make it much easier to spend money.”

Zynga is the country’s largest social game developer with more than 50 million daily active users on Facebook, according to AppData. The company gets most of its revenue by selling so-called virtual goods for games such as “FarmVille,” “CityVille” and “Words with Friends” on Facebook. In turn, Facebook gets 12 percent of its revenue from Zynga, according to the social network’s S-1 filing.

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