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Zuckerberg talks Facebook IPO

November 7, 2011: 8:43 PM ET

Charlie Rose tonight interviewed Facebook execs Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, in a wide-ranging interview that touched on everything from Steve Jobs to the Arab Spring. They also discussed the prospect of a Facebook IPO, which Zuckerberg seems determined to complete... someday.

Below is the IPO talk, followed by a video preview:

Charlie Rose: Why do you even think about an IPO?

Mark Zuckerberg: I actually think the biggest thing for us is that a big part of being a technology company is getting the best engineers and designers and talented people around the world. And one of the ways that you can do that is you compensate people with equity or options, right, so you get people who want to join the company, both for the mission, right, because they believe that Facebook is doing this awesome thing and they want to be a part of connecting everyone in the world, but also, if the company does well, then they get financially rewarded and can be set. And, you know, we've made this implicit promise to our investors and to our employees that by compensating them with equity and by giving them equity, that at some point we're going to make that equity worth something publicly and liquidly, in a liquid way. Now, the promise isn't that we're going to do it on any kind of short-term time horizon. The promise is that we're going to build this company so that it's great over the long term, right. And that we're always making these decisions for the long term, but at some point we'll do that.

Charlie Rose: And it will be a liquid dividend for your –

Mark Zuckerberg: Yeah, whether it's a dividend or not, they'll be able to trade their equity for money. And you know, that's something that we take seriously, as a responsibility of running the company. And we just care deeply about all the employees and the investors who have been there with us.

Charlie Rose: Has the Groupon experience and has other things changed your sense of the timing of an IPO?

Mark Zuckerberg: I don't — I don't think so.

Sheryl Sandberg: Not really.

Mark Zuckerberg: No.

Charlie Rose: You'll go when what? When will you decide?

Sheryl Sandberg: When we're ready.

Mark Zuckerberg: Yeah.

Charlie Rose: No, but how — what will tell you it makes sense?

Mark Zuckerberg: I don't know. It's a good question. Yeah.

Charlie Rose: But you'll just know?

Mark Zuckerberg: I mean, yeah. It's — honestly, it's not something I spend a lot of time on a day-to-day basis thinking about it now.

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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