UPDATE: It was one busy week for Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO wasn’t just planning one of the most widely anticipated IPOs in history, but also a surprise wedding. On Saturday, fewer than 100 guests went to Zuckerberg’s house to attend what they thought would be a party to celebrate his girlfriend’s graduation from medical school. Instead, they discovered that the 28-year-old CEO and 27-year-old Priscilla Chan, his girlfriend of nearly 10 years, were tying the knot, reports the Associated Press.
Zuckerberg designed Chan’s wedding ring, which “an authorized source” for the couple says had a “very simple ruby.” The source said that while the timing seemed to be part of a meticulously crafted plan, it was actually a coincidence as the couple had been planning the wedding without knowing exactly when the IPO would take place.
Guests ate food from the couple’s favorite restaurants and had what People describes as “whimsical chocolate treats made in the shape of mice” for dessert.
The wedding will surely make it easier for Zuckerberg to ignore analysts who have been quick to express disappointment over Facebook’s first day as a public company. Its stock closed a mere 23 cents higher than the $38 float price. Some might try to interpret that fact as proof that the stock was priced correctly but it seems the only reason why shares did not fall below that level was because lead underwriter Morgan Stanley stepped in to prop it up, reports Bloomberg.
The stock’s closing price marked a huge disappointment for the market considering most expected Facebook to trade at least at $45 by the end of the day after it began trading above $42 Friday morning. In fact, as Venture Beat’s Jolie O’Dell points out, most Silicon Valley big shots were saying before Friday that Faebook stock would end the day somewhere between $50 and $60 per share.
Although Bloomberg says that Morgan Stanley was the only underwriter among Facebook’s 33 banks responsible for supporting shares, the Telegraph points out that others were also left with lots of shares at the end of the day. Morgan Stanly had 162 million shares worth $6.16 billion, while JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs bought shares worth $3.2 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively.
Now the question is whether the underwriters will continue supporting the stock this week, writes Andrew Bary in Barron’s. Several analysts are urging caution, saying the shares seem to be overpriced. As one expert notes, “It's exceedingly dangerous to pay a $100 billion valuation for a company that hasn't figured out a way to make money.”
Yet the disappointing IPO wasn’t just about investors who were skeptical of Facebook’s fundamentals. It also looks like too many shares flooded the market. At the end of the day, the total volume was 573 million shares, which seems to indicate investors were nervous, points out Tiernan Ray in Barron’s. Some analysts continue to say Facebook will prove out a worthwhile investment in the end, even if it may not seem that way in the immediate future. Still, the stock will undergo a sharp test later this year when lock-ups on 1.8 billion shares will expire between August and November.
Of course, it’s worth remembering that just because the IPO was bad for investors doesn’t mean that it was bad for Facebook. From the company’s point of view, it was able to raise quite a bit of spending money, and early investors were able to cash out a portion of their shares to become extraordinarily wealthy, points out Forbes contributor Tim Worstall.
Friday, May 18: Facebook's initial public offering opened with a flurry Friday morning, as 82 million shares were bought and sold within the first 30 seconds of trading on the Nasdaq.
A day's worth of frantic action, however, left the social media giant's shares at $38.23 at the closing bell, only a slight uptick from the initial $38 IPO price.
The stock opened at $42 in the first minutes of its public-trading debut, and surged as high as $43, but lost momentum in afternoon trading, forcing underwriters to step in to prop it up. The Wall Street Journal deemed Facebook's first day on the exchange "a tepid performance for one of the largest and most closely watched IPOs."
While the closing price was a bit of a disappointment for some, that may have been in large part due to the high levels of anticipation and excitement that preceded Friday's trading. The Associated Press reports that the company and its early investors raised $16 billion in the offering, which translates to a $104 billion valuation for the social media company. It also made Facebook the most valuable American company ever to go public.
Facebook founder (and 31-percent shareholder) Mark Zuckerberg rang the Nasdaq opening bell in Menlo Park, California, where the social media company is headquartered. CNN reports the office commemorated the moment on Thursday night with a Facebook tradition: an all-night coding session with free t-shirts for participants.
While Zuckerberg's likely billion-dollar day got most of the early attention, he's not the only member of the rich and famous getting significantly richer. The Huffington Post reports that Friday's Wall Street action likely makes Bono the richest musician in the world, an informal title previously held by Paul McCartney. The U2 singer bought 2.3 percent of shares of Facebook through an investment group in 2009, and the IPO could push the worth of those shares to $1.5 billion, besting McCartney’s $1.05 billion.