By the end of Friday, after a few stumbles, it seemed like a job well done for all involved with Facebook's public debut. Since then, there's be a steady stream of moaning and complaining; apparently everybody wanted to be an instant billionaire.
UPDATED: And Now Lawsuits
It didn't take long for the legal fur to start flying and now Reuters is reporting that various parties are being sued over what amounts to insider trading by Facebook and its IPO banking partners. Investors who weren't privy to the news that Facebook's revenue numbers weren't likely to be as good as hoped are naturally furious that they brought and sold the shares with incomplete information.
Since the IPO launch day, Facebook's stock has taken a pummelling and it will take some very good PR to keep it afloat in what will be a nasty lawsuit and massive media scruting. This saga will run for some time, original story continues...
Facing the Fiscal Future
An IPO is a long term proposition, for example, some of the big banks have been trading since the 18th Century. So, it seems rather scary that people get excited about those first few hours trading at the start of a company's public existence. Sure, Facebook's future might not be as long lasting as some of America's more august institutions, but give them a chance.
That short-termist view showed its nasty side after Friday's first trades, with some punters aggrieved that they hadn't seen crazed price rises, others blaming NASDAQ for technical issues, leading to a poor performance, and the handling banks of artificially managing the stock price on day one.
To resolve one issue, NASDAQ has already confessed that the launch of "FB" shares wasn't its finest hour and blamed software and echnical problems for the delayed start to trading, compounded by the massive interest in the IPO. Whoever invents the first truly failsafe web trading/data system could probably have their very own IPO.
Blame the Banks?
After trading finally got underway, came those investors who were expecting massive hikes in the stock price so they could cash in quickly. Those dreams of a yacht in the Bahamas soon faded as Facebook made solid if unspectacular progress which has already dimmed today with the stock down to around $34.
There were also stories of the banks using tactics to keep the price above the starting $38 level, to prevent the day being seen as a failure. That may well be the case, but if they were only doing their job, and everyone knew the banks would take such actions, what is the problem? If any of this seems confusing, it is probably worth having a read of this piece by investor Dan Scholnick which neatly defines what an IPO actually is for, and what its purpose is.
Finally, now Facebook is rich, people want that money and will try various means to get it. The latest being a neatly timed $15 billion class action lawsuit over privacy violations. If it ever gets to court, it certainly won't be users getting whatever money is finally paid out.
The Facebook Fairytale
Now though, Facebook has the very real challenge of setting and meeting growth targets, generating revenue and monetizing its massive user base. All while fighting off endless new challengers, massive pressure from the computer giant inumbents and the legal morass that playing with people's lives generates.
That can really only be done with the funds generated by an IPO, which will set the company up with the resources to meet these challenges. And, with Mark Zuckerbeg deciding to pull off an IPO and a secret wedding on the same weekend, he's probably the man for the job.