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Facebook IPO: What’s the Big Deal and Who’s Buying?

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With Facebook set to go public Friday, some may be wondering what all the buzz is all about. 

Andrew Serwer, managing editor of Fortune magazine, says the social network is more than just a fad. It's like a utility.  Almost everyone uses it, and it touches everyone in terms of social networking, which is what the phenomenon is all about.

"It's hard to think of a company that has kind of burst on the scene more quickly, with more pizzazz, than Facebook," Serwer said. "I mean it's ubiquitous, it's everywhere, and so, when you have a company like that, that's going public, that's growing like crazy, that's top of mind, it's a perfect combination."

But Serwer says that if you've got high hopes of scooping up a lot of shares, forget about it.  The big guys on Wall Street will be getting access to all the shares.

"Professionals -- they're getting all the shares and, to some extent, we are sharing in that because they are buying shares for pension funds and mutual funds and retirement funds.  So we share in it in that way, but it's professionals, not us, who are really getting the stock," he said.

Amid all the excitement for social network's upcoming IPO, here is how you might have fared with some other IPO stocks:

  • Johnson & Johnson for $375 at its IPO price in 1944, your investment would be worth about $10 million (source:  Johnson & Johnson).
  • Apple for $220 at its IPO price in 1980, your investment would be worth about $44,800.
  • Amazon for $180 at its IPO price in 1997, your investment would be worth about $27,240.
  • Google for $85 at its IPO price in 2004, your investment would be worth about $6,111.
  • McDonald’s for $225 during its IPO in 1965, it would now be worth about $676,000.  (source: McDonald’s)
  • AOL for $254.50 at its (second) IPO price in 2009, it would now be worth about $270  (you made essentially no profit, taking inflation into account).
  • PETS.com for $1,110 at its IPO price in 2000, it would now be worth NOTHING.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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