Bubble trouble over sky-high internet values

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Talk of bubble trouble is rife again in Silicon Valley. Private internet companies with names barely known in the financial world a year ago are suddenly the focus of heated price-talk – even if they have yet to prove they can raise money at some of these lofty levels.

Zynga, a social gaming company valued at about $5bn by private share sales little more than three months ago, is looking to raise a fresh round of capital at a valuation of $9bn or so, according to one person familiar with its plans. Groupon, the group-buying site that turned down a $6bn buy-out offer from Google late last year, is entertaining pitches from bankers looking to take it public this year at a value of $15bn-$20bn. And Facebook, the social networking site that only last month was accorded a $50bn valuation in a deal led by Goldman Sachs, is said to be considering helping its staff sell some of their stock, at a valuation of $60bn.

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