Facebook's (FB) first couple of weeks as a public company, most observers agree, now appears to have been an unmitigated disaster.
There was the first-day NASDAQ (IXIC) trading scandal, in which many people who bought Facebook stock didn't know whether or not they owned it.
There was a selective disclosure scandal, in which Facebook and its underwriters told big investors that Facebook was having a weak second quarter but didn't tell small investors.
And, of course, there is the stock price.
Facebook's stock is now down about 25% from its IPO price of 10 days ago.
That's an extraordinary decline for a company this large. And with the stock still trading at about 45X next year's consensus EPS estimate of $0.65, the shares are arguably still expensive and could therefore fall further.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is...
On his honeymoon in Europe!
The world hasn't heard a peep from Mr. Zuckerberg since Facebook went public. He got married the weekend following the IPO, and then he jetted off to Europe. And now, with his company being buffeted by criticism from all sides, people are wondering why Zuckerberg hasn't made some sort of public statement.
Rob Cox, Americas Editor for Reuters Breakingviews, thinks Zuckerberg needs to come forward.
Yes, he'll be legally constrained in what he can say, and he'll have to be very careful. But Cox feels that, having played such a small role in the IPO, Zuckerberg needs to take full responsibility for what has happened and let Facebook's shareholders, users, and employees know that he is firmly in charge.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg himself is feeling his investors' pain.
Bloomberg gleefully announced this morning that Facebook's plummeting stock has caused Zuckerberg to drop off Bloomberg's list of the world's 40 richest people. Zuckerberg is only worth $15 billion now, Bloomberg notes--a far cry from the $19 billion he was worth on the day of the IPO.
Should Zuckerberg come forward and say something?
Or should Facebook's investors, users, and employees just suck it up and sit tight? After all, Zuckerberg couldn't have been clearer in his "letter to potential shareholders" that he was focused on the long-term. And a sharp price decline over 10 days is hardly long-term.
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