Facebook’s stock finally hit the market on Friday, at a price of $38 a share. It opened this morning at $31.37. That’s almost a 20% drop in two days of trading. So, of course, now the finger pointing begins.
Initially, it seemed to be a simple matter of technical difficulties, with overwhelming consumer demand almost “breaking” the Nasdaq stock exchange and preventing transactions from flowing smoothly. But according to Business Insider, it’s typical corporate get-rich-quick shenanigans at play.
First off, at $38 per, shares were priced too high. Apple, for example, is valued at 10 times its estimated earnings for 2013. Facebook, though, was valued at 65 times its 2013 earnings. Apple, if you recall, is the most valuable company in the world, depending on the day.
Yet, here’s where things really run afoul: with ad revenue suffering, Facebook cut its quarterly estimates just prior to Friday’s IPO. However, it only told Morgan Stanley, the underwriter handling the IPO. And in turn, they only verbally told big, corporate investors, so only the rich insiders knew not to buy into Facebook. Instead, they sold whatever stock they already owned. Smaller investors, on the other hand, kept buying and now they’re the ones losing money.
It’s been termed “selective disclosure.” And it might not be legal, so the SEC might investigate.
Welcome to the tech bubble.
Update: Facebook shareholders have now filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, under legal guidance of the lawyer who took down Enron.