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Facebore – The Facebook IPO Dissapointment

May 21, 2012

UPDATE: This article best sums it up….If there was any doubt that Wall Street is a sucker’s game designed to take money from stupid people and put it into the hands of bankers and powerful corporations, Facebook’s initial public offering should clear that up.

Well, the facts speak for themselves.  What was supposed to be the next sliced bread was a big nothing except for the insiders who already got their money.

Expectations had it being the next Google, zooming into the hundreds of dollars with overnight millionaires.  While it was the most traded IPO ever, it ended where it started and the big bang for IPO’s are usually at the beginning of a stock downturn. (see the Groupon IPO bust).

In fact it was a BLACKEYE for the NASDAQ:

By Bloomberg

Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) debut on the NASDAQ Stock Market turned into another setback for American equity exchanges, with the $16 billion initial public offering plagued by delays in trade confirmations, crossed quotes and signs that orders were mishandled.

The pricing of the first transaction took a half hour longer than NASDAQ planned. About 30 minutes later, the second largest U.S. equities exchange operator reported an issue confirming trades from the opening auction with the brokerages that placed them. Nasdaq later established an appeals process for investors whose instructions weren’t carried out.

Scrutiny of American equity markets intensified in March when Bats Global Markets Inc., the third-largest U.S. stock exchange owner, withdrew its IPO after failing to trade on its own platform. Nasdaq’s mishaps, on a day when the most anticipated IPO of the year eked out a gain of 0.6 percent, disappointed investors hoping to erase the memory of Bats.

“It certainly wasn’t their best day,” Larry Tabb, chief executive officer of research firm Tabb Group LLC in New York, said in a phone interview. “That said, it also wasn’t a complete disaster. NASDAQ really needs to investigate what the challenges are and fix them quickly. There was a lot riding on this IPO and apparently it didn’t go so well.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it will review the trading. NASDAQ spokesman Robert Madden didn’t return calls and e-mails seeking comment. Jonathan Thaw, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, declined to comment

BUYERS ARE MORE EDUCATED, OR HAVE BEEN BURNED TOO MANY TIMES

I suppose you could trace this back to the internet bubble. Regular investors have been burned too many times.  Sure Google was a killing, but Facebook had a business model and P/E that didn’t impress.  There was too much hype, not enough value and seemingly not enough surety on the IPO.

The Trader sums it up:

The truth is that Facebook is a toy, a dreamworld, a figment of the imagination. Zuckerberg wanted to make the world a more connected place (and build a huge database of personal preferences), and he succeeded thanks to a huge slathering of venture capital. That’s an accomplishment, but it’s not a business. While the angel investors and college-dorm engineers will feel gratified at paper gains, it is becoming hard to ignore that there is no great profit engine under the venture. In fact, the big money coming into Facebook just seems to be money from new investors — they raised eighteen times as much in their flotation yesterday as they did in a whole year of advertising revenue. For an established business with such huge market penetration, they’re veering dangerously close to Bernie Madoff’s business model.

Worst of All:

Even the NYT notes:

The company’s bankers had to buy shares to keep the stock from falling below its offering price, raising questions about how the stock will fare next week.

YAHOO LAWSUIT

There might be other reasons that held back the success offering, not the least of which was a pending lawsuit:

Actually, Facebook hinted at a pending legal battle with Yahoo in Amendment No. 2 to its S-1 form, filed on March 7.

In that memo, Facebook admitted that it is “involved in a number of lawsuits.” That trend, it acknowledged, is likely to continue as it faces “increasing competition.”

Facebook received a letter from Yahoo on February 27 that “alleged that a number of our products infringe the claims of 13 of Yahoo’s patents.” At the time the second amendment was filed, Facebook was “still in the process of investigating the allegations contained in the letter.”

ARE THEY WAITING FOR A DEAL:
Perhaps the real deal and best price will be waiting for a low of under $20 and picking it up then.  Even if you only make a few dollars per share, it’s better than the few cents that the first day delivered.

THE WORLD MARKETS INFLUENCE

Another speculation is that it suffered from the rest of the world.  The problems with Greece and Spain are well documented.  One thing I didn’t consider was this, An oversold rally is in the works:

From a technical standpoint, our markets peaked in February, yet price drifted marginally higher. As the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rang the bell on our target of 1365 +/- 15 basis point handles, we paused. It was not a shorting opportunity, based upon the persistent bearishness that grew as price moved higher. But after weeks of basing between our levels, the market set itself up for a sprint higher into 1420, suggesting but not reaching irrational exuberance. From that intersection, we saw price decelerate in a downward spiral by 115 handles, or about 9%.

So we must ask ourselves the one question that is more important than Facebook’s (FB) $104 billion IPO: Are we still in a healthy sustained upward move, or are we in a state of bearishness that is being masked by love for Apple (AAPL) or Facebook?

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

There are some positives with this pointed out by a smarter mind than me, Social Media expert Jeremiah Owyang, read more at this link:

Despite yesterday’s IPO closed at nearly opening price, it’s important to pause and think about how this company’s market cap reached $100 billion (for context, Pepsi is at par at $106b).  We’re already seeing many become wealthy, from newly minted millionaires in brand new M3s at the local car wash in silicon valley, to the investors, VC, and ecosystem that will benefit from the revenues, we need to pause and think why.

So what is so important to pause and think about? Why do I say the Business Model is “Brilliant”?  Facebook’s business model smashed the traditional manufacturing style we see with consumer products, and instead built a  ’consumer platform’ that enabled many around them. In fact, the Facebook business model is brilliant for the following reasons:

  1. Brilliant because the users do the work.   In many companies, hiring paid or unpaid interns is a source of scale, or even off shoring work to developing regions.  In the case of Facebook, there are 900,000,000+ unpaid members that are generating meaningful content and value to each other.   In fact, official Facebook stats indicate that 526b million of them are active each day, many of which are using mobile devices and applications to connect to Facebook as they traverse the world.  While Facebook continues to grow, third parties are observing that the rate of growth may retarding, what’s important to remember  is that most of the commercial base that brands want to seek are likely within Facebook.

WHAT NEXT?

It either goes up or down in price.  The initial IPO money to be made has been made, but the long term money will be made by the savvy investors who can buy a bargain price and wait for it to go up.  The state of the Euro and the EU as well as the debt crisis worldwide may weigh on the price.  I believe that this has changed how IPO’s will be handled in the future as it didn’t skyrocket like it should have (many theories on that).

Further, Exotic car dealers and realtors in Palo Alto are now set to collect a lot of money from the overnight millionaires.

All in all, I congratulate Zuckerberg et al who created a product, jobs, the next new widget and helped the economy.  Bono made $1.5 billion for example and exceeded Paul McCartney as the wealthiest musician.

I’ll bet it still eats at the Winklevii though because as they say, if they could have created Facebook, they would have created Facebook.

POSTMORTEM

It appears that the management at Facebook is suspect also.  While owning 27% of the stock but having 57% control by Zuckerberg is telling.  Most entrepreneurs are good at developing their product, but are bad at running companies.

Further, this from the WSJ on fumbling the IPO:

Less than three days before Facebook Inc.’s FB -9.77% initial public offering, Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman decided to boost the number of shares the company would offer investors by 25%, said people familiar with the planning. His main adviser at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley MS +0.90% assured him there was plenty of demand, they said.

Facebook shares slid sharply for a second straight day as analysts for at least two of Facebook’s lead underwriters revised their financial forecasts for the company while it was holding IPO roadshow meetings. David Benoit has details on The News Hub. Photo: Reuters.

That decision by the 41-year-old Facebook executive may have doomed any real chance the social-networking company had that its stock would jump on its first day of trading—a hallmark of successful IPOs. On Tuesday, the second full day of trading, Facebook shares fell $3.03, or 8.9%, to $31, after falling 11% on Monday. Investors are blaming the downdraft on the last-moment expansion of the offering.

And this:

Interviews with more than a dozen people involved in the IPO reveal that Facebook approached its deal differently than companies typically do. Mr. Ebersman kept a close grip on every important decision on the stock offering, not deferring to his bankers the way many companies do, according to the people familiar with planning.

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