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Facebook scores $500 million investment, most visited site of 2010

Facebook, the world's most popular social networking site, has reportedly finalised a round of almost $500 million in funding from Goldman Sachs as questions about a possible IPO date begin to surface.

According to the New York Times today, Facebook has secured $500 million in funding from two partners: Goldman Sachs, a global investment firm, and Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies who've already invested in Facebook.

It's thought the investment, which is yet to be confirmed by the social network, has placed the value of the popular site at almost $50 billion and will allow Sachs to assist Facebook when the time comes for the site to become listed publically.

And in a move which could prevent the social network from having to disclose their financial position to the public as required in the United States when a company has more than 499 investors, Goldman Sachs may create what the New York Times calls a “special purpose vehicle” which they will manage as one investor, allowing multiple "high-net worth clients" to invest in the social network.

"Goldman is planning to create a “special purpose vehicle” to allow its high-net worth clients to invest in Facebook," the New York Times wrote.

"While the S.E.C. [Securities and Exchange Commission] requires companies with more than 499 investors to disclose their financial results to the public, Goldman’s proposed special purpose vehicle may be able get around such a rule because it would be managed by Goldman and considered just one investor, even though it could conceivably be pooling investments from thousands of clients."

It's not known how the S.E.C. feels about this move.

And in an ironic twist, the New York Times points out Sachs employees interested in looking at the popular site are unable to access it as a content filter company-wide prevents access to the social networking site when at work.

The news just keeps getting better for Facebook, with online analytics firm Hitwise today reporting the site overtook Google as the most visited website in the United States in 2010, commanding a 8.93% share. Google meanwhile still maintained the lead when all their properties including Gmail and YouTube are included, with a 9.85% share.

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