Date: May 18
It makes sense that the year's biggest tech news story so far is also the most controversial. After years of speculation, Mark Zuckerberg finally decided to take the company he founded in his Harvard dorm room public.
Facebook filed for an initial public offering on February 1, opening its usually clandestine inner workings to the public. We learned that Facebook had just under 900 million users. We also learned that although it saw huge growth over the past few years, that its momentum was slowing and would more than likely continue to slow. Zuckerberg told prospective investors that the company is alright with its velocity and that they should understand that Facebook is run on the "hacker ethos." The filing captivated the world. People who had no idea what a S1 document was, poured over the PDF.
Facebook's share price of $38 would value the young company at a hefty $104 billion, making it the most valuable company to ever file an IPO. Things got off to a foretelling start on opening day when a technical glitch with the NASDAQ exchange prevented orders from being placed. The stock soared early on but bobbed back down as the day continued. The following weeks of trading wouldn't be as generous as the share price fell as much as $10 by June 1, causing investors to lose up to $40 billion.
In the wake of the IPO, analysts chastised both Facebook and its underwriters for their alleged poor handling of the process. The Wall Street Journal said that the effects of this could harm future technology IPOs. Lawsuits were filed by those who blamed the Morgan Stanley and glitches from preventing them from selling their shares. The company is also being investigated by the Security and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for all the trouble surrounding the IPO.