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Originally published Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 8:55 PM

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Apple co-founder Wozniak eager to buy shares in Facebook IPO

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he will buy shares in Facebook when the social-networking company sells stock to the public.

Bloomberg News

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SYDNEY, Australia — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he will buy shares in Facebook when the social-networking company sells stock to the public in what may be a record initial public offering for an Internet business.

Wozniak, who built the first Apple computer with Steve Jobs and co-founded the company with him in 1976, said he would buy Facebook's stock regardless of its valuation.

Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion in an IPO scheduled for Thursday in what would be the biggest in history for an Internet company. The company is offering 337.4 million shares to the public at $28 to $35, giving it a market value at the top of the range of $96 billion.

"I would invest in Facebook," Wozniak said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Sydney over the weekend. "I don't care what the opening price is."

Wozniak is chief scientist at Fusion-io, a maker of flash-memory technology. The Salt Lake City-based company counts Facebook as its biggest customer.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook makes up 36 percent of Fusion-io's revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, followed by 24 percent coming from Apple and 14 percent from Hewlett-Packard.

Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg is a "real acute" businessman who mixes technical ability with the vision and corporate acumen of Steve Jobs, Wozniak said.

"I was thankful to have a partnership with Steve Jobs and I see Mark Zuckerberg closer to the combination of us," he said.

"When he speaks he speaks with a lot of idealism for the users and a lot of good ideas for the product overall."

Wozniak said Zuckerberg's decision to hold out as long as possible before selling shares to the public was the right strategy for the social-networking company.

"I'm glad they held out so long," he said. "You don't have to think that your only goal can be an IPO."

Facebook announced in January that it would start filing public financial reports this year because it expected to breach a regulatory threshold on the number of its shareholders.

U.S. companies with more than 500 shareholders have historically had to publish their financial data under investor-protection laws, removing many of the attractions of being structured as a closely held company.

The 500-shareholder limit was raised to 2,000 under an act the Senate passed March 22.

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