We have been saying for ages that a lot of people are going to lose their shirts on the Facebook IPO, but no one appeared to be listening.
Yesterday Facebook shares slid below $29 to a new low as nervous investors fled the company’s shares, concerned about the social network’s long-term business prospects and an initial offering price that proved too expensive.
At the time of the IPO we said that we could not understand why anyone would want to pay more than a hundred times what the company was worth.
I warned that institutional investors, who already had shares in Facebook for years, would probably want to dump shares fairly early on in the story while the share price was good.
Once the market had navigated that particular hurdle, Facebook would have to come up with some pretty good news fast, because CEO Mark Zuckerburg would be announcing profits holding at $1billion a year. For Facebook to be worth what investors paid for it, he would have to announce huge profit growth, which he is unlikely to do for a few years.
Facebook shares are trading at $28.84 which means they have lost a third of their value or $25 billion.
What must be annoying is that this is the original figure that Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter of Facebook’s IPO set for the company before jacking the value up in the 11th hour of the sales process. At the time we said that even this price was too much.
At the moment, all the speculation is that Zuckerburg is going to come up with something mobile to wow investors.
Word on the street is that he will buy the troubled RIM or build a Facebook phone.
Zuckerburg is in Rome at the moment. As he looks around at the ruins of an Empire which once ruled the world, he should be impressed by the intransigence of human endeavour and realise that time crushes even stone and iron.
He might come back and pull his company’s nadgers out of the fire. But we are predicting that the share price of Facebook has a way to go before it reaches its true value. Unless Zuckerburg’s prayers at St Peters were heard.