Facebook has warned it may be forced to shut down if it loses a series of costly lawsuits.
The social networking site set out the stark message in a document prepared for potential investors before its $100billion stock market floating this spring.
It said the various legal actions, including looming legal action from Yahoo, 'could have a significant impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.'
It added: 'The terms of such a settlement or judgment may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party.'
But the firm's warnings are being seen, by analysts, simply as an exploration of the 'worst-case scenarios' for investors and a way for Facebook to cover its back.
This has been backed up by the firm, and by American banks who have increased the firm's overdraft from $2.5billion to $5billion.
Creditors have also extended its $3billion bridging loan to cover tax as some 3,000 staff prepare to exercise share options worth $7.5billion.
Facebook added: 'We do not believe the final outcome of those matters we currently face will have a material adverse effect.'
The warning is contained within documents filed with America's financial watchdog - the Securities and Exchange Commission.
|Rich and getting sued errday|
Blah blah blah Facebook is just covering their ass. When you are a massive corporation lawsuits are a part of the cost of business. Companies like this get sued every day by shit tons of people and companies.
This is probably one reason for the timing of the Facebook IPO. If your company is facing huge legal battles, an influx of a few billion never hurts. Smart investors will realize that investing in Facebook out of the gate is basically betting on the company to come out of these lawsuits unscathed. You give them money, they defend themselves in court, then the company keeps growing and hopefully you make money. Mark Zuckerberg is not only a computer genius but he is applying his brain to business and this IPO more and more is looking like a genius choice.