Facebook in the filings…

You may have heard (or, perhaps read) about a company called Facebook (FB), which is going public today. For weeks now, there’s been a steady drumbeat of stories, and an even steadier drumbeat of filings. The most recent S-1, with the pricing details, was filed on Tuesday morning, making it the 8th version of the document.

We’ll let others focus on the blow-by-blow today. Our friends at both the New York Times’ DealBook and the WSJ are both live blogging today’s events (see here and here respectively). What we found more interesting was the rash of insider trading-related forms filed late yesterday. We counted 39, which was significantly higher than those filed by Google (GOOG) insiders prior to its IPO in August 2004. Four of those were filed by various entities tied to Goldman Sachs. Digital Sky Technologies, an early investor, accounted for another 5 insider forms.

As for the individuals, the filings come from some names you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about lately, including new Singaporean citizen Eduardo Saverin, who according to this Form 3 that was filed at 8:41 pm last night, owns 53.1 million shares. (That’s $2.02 billion at $38 a share.)

The other thing we found interesting was this confidential treatment order (PDF) seeking to shield three exhibits, filed late yesterday. Because the CT order was granted, we have no idea what’s in those agreements, but we do know that exhibits starting with the number 10 are material contracts, and usually worth paying attention to. We took a quick look back to see what other high profile IPOs had been granted CT requests on the eve of their IPOs and it was a mixed bag: Zynga (ZNGA) and Zillow (Z), both of which went public last year, filed CT orders on the day they went public. So did LinkedIn. But Google, Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY) and Groupon (GRPN) didn’t. (In fact, Google and Amazon have never filed for a confidential treatment order.)

The champion in seeking CT orders is Orbitz (OWW), with a record 17 filed over the years. The stock went public in July 2007, and is now trading at around $3.31 — down 77% from its IPO. And the other tech IPOs that filed CT orders when they went public? Except for LinkedIn, they’re all trailing the S&P 500. Google and Amazon, by contrast — the companies that have no confidential treatment orders on file with the SEC — are doing pretty well.

Is there some sort of indicator in this? That may be a bit of a leap. Still, Facebook’s desire for secrecy leaves us a little skeptical, given that two of the most successful tech companies of all time have apparently never felt the need.

Image source: businessman with finger to his lips via