Is Facebook befriending investors? CEO won't say

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Facebook Inc. doesn't need to befriend more investors to finance its rapid growth, but the popular online hangout hasn't ruled out the possibility of accepting another cash infusion of help pay the bills, its chief executive says.

Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in a college dorm room and now ranks as the world's youngest billionaire, made the coy remarks Thursday during an appearance at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.

Questions about Facebook's financing needs have been raised by unsubstantiated reports on blogs that the privately held company's chief financial officer has recently met with potential investors in Dubai.

Palo Alto-based Facebook so far has raised about $500 million, including a $240 million investment from Microsoft a year ago. That round of financing valued Facebook at $15 billion and left Zuckerberg, 24, with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Since taking Microsoft's money, Facebook has more than doubled in size. The company now has more than 700 employees and its Web site has about 125 million active users worldwide. The huge audience has required Facebook to invest heavily in new computers to keep up with the demands on its Web site.

The deteriorating economy could pose more problems because it's expected to crimp online advertising - Facebook's primary source of revenue. Many startups already been firing employees to save money, but Facebook is still hiring, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook's revenue this year will be in the "hundreds of millions" of dollars, according to Zuckerberg. He said Facebook still doesn't expect to go public for several more years.

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