Breakout

Fury Over Facebook IPO Grows, Lawsuits Mount

Breakout

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So now it's day four in the life of "public Facebook" (FB), and setting aside for a moment some gyrations in the stock price, it's safe to say things are still going to pretty much suck for the social media titan — at least for the foreseeable future. Only a week ago Mark Zuckerberg and the company he founded seemed to be draped in teflon and en route to world domination, whereas today kevlar might be a more suitable garment as an angry mob grows on their doorstep.

"They've done a lot of reputational damage to their brand, and that matters," says my co-host Jeff Macke in the attached video. He argues that the Silicon Valley company, renowned for its "thumbs-up and chums and we're all friends," has alienated its fans in a big way.

At the same time, with lawsuits literally mounting by the hour, it seems anyone within an arms reach of this deal is going to have some serious explaining to do. While shareholder suits are commonplace and often frivolous, the problem with this grievance is that it's grounded in populism, it's easy to understand, it will get wide mainstream coverage, and it's of interest to about one billion people.

As I write, shareholder suits have already been filed in New York and California. The State of Massachusetts has subpoenaed Morgan Stanley (MS), following reports that it allegedly only told a few of its best clients that its analyst was cutting his revenue outlook for the company. The entire underwriting syndicate — (GS), (JPM), (BAC), (BCS) — is being sued, as is Facebook's newlywed CEO and several board members. In addition, the Nasdaq (NDAQ) has also been sued, and the SEC and FINRA are launching investigations. Congressional hearings and probes can't be far off.

This is not how it was supposed to go. The long-awaited debut was supposed to be the fairytale ending (or beginning) to the great growth story of the modern era. Instead, it has become just one big mess that's not only an embarrassment to all parties involved but a huge distraction to a business when it is supposed to be focusing on ways to grow its revenue.

What a mess.

Do you think Facebook (FB) will end this year above or below its IPO price of $38 a share? Please answer our poll question below and visit us on Facebook!

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