Facebook’s decision to sell stock to the public for the first time dominated business news last week. The announcement came after a year of internet companies going public with massive fanfare—the professional network LinkedIn, social gaming company Zynga, and GroupOn with the largest public launch since Google’s in 2004.

After years of speculation about a public offering, Facebook is the only one of its major rivals—Google, Amazon and Apple—to remain privately owned. The company’s impending arrival at the public auction block seemed preordained.

That doesn’t mean it makes sense.

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