- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is raising the price range at which it plans to sell stock to the public.

The social networking company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it expects to sell its stock for between $34 and $38 per share. That’s higher than a previous range of $28 to $35.

The increased range is a sign of high demand from investors to own a piece of the world’s most popular social network. The initial public offering is the most hotly anticipated in years and would value Facebook at more than $100 billion. The IPO is expected to be completed late Thursday, with shares to start trading Friday.

Facebook has more than 900 million users who log in at least once a month.

Facebook also adjusted the timetable for finishing its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram. In Tuesday’s filing, Facebook said it expected the deal to close sometime in 2012. Previously, it had said it expected to complete the deal in the second quarter.

Some have speculated that the acquisition of the photo-sharing network would come under regulatory scrutiny. If the deal doesn’t close by Dec. 10, Facebook could have to pay Instagram a breakup fee of $200 million.

Facebook Inc.’s IPO is expected to be the largest ever for an Internet company. It is expected to raise more than 10 times as much as the $1.67 billion raised in Google Inc.’s 2004 IPO.

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