A Fresh Take on CRE

Facebook's IPO Was a Success - LinkedIn's Was a Disaster

As a disclaimer, I'm not a stock broker, an investment banker, or even a financial analyst.  I'm just an entrepreneur thinking about Facebook's IPO through the eyes an entrepreneur.

With that said, I'm failing to understand all of the reporting around Facebook's IPO being a disaster.  Yes, a lot of people have lost a lot of money on Facebook stock.  These people are called speculators.  According to Investopedia, a speculator is:

"A person who trades derivatives, commodities, bonds, equities or currencies with a higher-than-average risk in return for a higher-than-average profit potential. Speculators take large risks, especially with respect to anticipating future price movements, in the hope of making quick, large gains."

I feel very sorry that these people lost money (on paper - assuming they haven't sold), but I'm pretty sure that they knew what they were getting themselves into.

As for Joe Investor who jumped on the Facebook hype train? Relax! If you truly believe that the company is solid then all you have to do is hold onto the stock for a long time, and you should do fine. If your intention was to make a quick buck, then please see the definition of a speculator above.

So why do I believe the Facebook IPO was a success? It's really very simple.  Facebook didn't get screwed by their investment bankers!  It would seem that Facebook's stock was priced just high enough to get the IPO investors excited to invest, without leaving money on the table. This means that Mark Zuckerberg and the other owners of Facebook maximized the price of the shares they sold.  As an entrepreneur, you can't ask for much more.  And did Mark Zuckerberg lose $5 billion on his honeymoon as widely reported?  The answer is no, because he's not going to sell his stock! Most of his wealth is on paper, and from what most people say about him, it will likely stay that way for a long time.

LinkedIn on the other hand got screwed.  Its stock went up over 100% within two hours of trading.  That means that Reid Hoffman and the other investors that sold stock that day received less than half of what the market would pay! The people who did really well on the LinkedIn IPO were the deep pocketed investors that received preferred IPO allocations from the investment bankers, and the investment bankers themselves who made commissions on the IPO and then again selling off the shares of their preferred clients.  At the time of the LinkedIn IPO, BusinessInsider offered up a great analogy:

"Imagine if the trusted real-estate agent you hired to sell your house persuaded you to sell it to her best client for $1,000,000 by telling you this was the best price she could get. And then, the next morning, the person who bought your house immediately turned around and sold it for $2,000,000 (using the agent to sell it, naturally).
How would you feel if your agent did that?
Shafted."
In case you're wondering, I feel pretty good about the fundamentals of Facebook's business model and I still think the company has a ton of growth potential.  Assuming that Facebook didn't intentionally mislead investors (of which some are accusing the company), there's no need to be mad at Mark Zuckerburg or Facebook.  Perhaps you should focus your anger on the media that hyped the IPO, but then again, they're also hyping Facebook's demise.  The truth is, in the case of the Facebook IPO, everybody did their job as they were supposed to.  The investment bankers priced the stock correctly, the entrepreneurs maximized the price of their stock, the media created a frenzy, and the speculators speculated.  All must be right with the world.
Don't agree with me?  Let me know!