Breakout

Plenty of Blame to Share for Faulty Facebook IPO: Ritholtz

Breakout

The French have a saying that revenge is a dish best served cold. In the annals of IPO history, Facebook's (FB) hot-to-cold reversal of fortune happened extraordinarily fast. While it only took one day to confirm what many investors had unsuccessfully tried to argue for years—that Facebook was over-valued—the drama and battling over the social media giant has really only just begun. In fact, investor Barry Ritholtz of Fusion IQ says, in the attached video, that he thinks the problem started long before the shares officially came to market.

"This is a debacle across the board. There is no party involved in this left who are unscathed," he says, before lining up his suspects for an old fashioned whooping. While his own blog on the subject is full of FB's (that's F-Bombs), I tried to keep our discussion a tad more elevated. In no particular order Ritholtz slams, as only he can, the following culprits for their role in the Facebook kerfuffle.

The Pre-IPO, Secondary Markets: "They allowed the price to run out of control," he says. "These private markets are garbage, and people who buy there are hoping to put one over on other participants." He goes on to call them "opaque, non-transparent, and non-disclosing," just to make certain we know how he really feels.

Morgan Stanley (MS): The lead underwriter on this most-coveted of deals "screwed up" by increasing the size and price of the deal while their analyst was taking down his revenue estimates for the quarter and the year. "The private market teed this up for failure, and Morgan Stanley just went along."

The Nasdaq (NDAQ): "Embarrassed themselves."

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg: "They were pigs about this," Ritholtz blasts. He argues that the ''28-year-old man-child Zuck" demanded a ridiculous $100 billion market cap and would "laugh out of the room" any banker who tried to suggest otherwise.

Over-Eager Investors: To those shareholders who are now underwater and complaining that they accepted a last-minute increase in the allocation of what was expected to be a hot deal only to find out otherwise, Ritholtz says in jest, "What are you going to say, I thought it was a good deal at 100 times earnings. But this 150 times earnings? That's ridiculous."

While Ritholtz won't speculate on possible legal outcomes, he won't rule it out either. Some trading firms, like Knight, are already looking to be made whole for losses they incurred as a result of choppy order flow and cancellations.

Sure Facebook has a tremendous reach and user base, and lots of potential two or three years out—he thinks the newest stock in the land has yet to bottom out. "I don't think we have seen the low yet," he says, pointing to multiple other ''disasters'' amongst recently listed social media companies, with the exception of LinkedIn (LNKD).

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!

Rates

View Comments (442)