Facebook will launch its long0awaited IPO in May, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The report coincided with a separate report on Bloomberg News that the social networking giant had ordered a suspension of trading of its shares on secondary exchanges. The move was widely seen as an effort by the company to minimise volatility in its shares before going public.

Facebook filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February to raise 5 billion dollars by selling some shares to the public. Recent sales of its shares on secondary markets have valued the company at between 93 billion dollars and 98 billion dollars.

The company has roughly 845 million active users around the world, and made a profit of around 1 billion dollars in 2011 on revenue of 3.71 billion dollars.