Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Wall Street Likes Facebook’s New Pitch

Facebook had a very rough summer. But fall is looking up.

At least by Wall Street’s estimation: After falling to an all-time low of $17.55 after Labor Day, FB shares are up 25 percent, to $22.

Again, you always want to be wary of turning lots of buy/sell decisions into a single narrative. That said, here’s the new conventional wisdom about the way investors see the company:

  • IPO pricing aside, it’s still a giant Web site with a newish ad business, so even in a worst-case scenario it has lots of growth left. It does have a big mobile problem, but every Web publisher has a big mobile problem.
  • Mark Zuckerberg appeared onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt and did not melt! So that’s good.
  • All of these new product lines Facebook is showing off or hinting at — e-commerce, “premium services” for big users, search — are promising.

And today is a chance for Facebook to polish that story a bit more. COO Sheryl Sandberg is scheduled for two high-profile appearances: First, Charlie Rose, the two-show TV interviewer, will chat up Sandberg and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen at a Web ad conference in New York. Then Sandberg and her top lieutenants will host a press conference, where the rest of us can lob questions.

Hard to imagine any surprises coming out of their event, as Sandberg is very practiced and controlled when it comes to these kinds of interactions. See, for example, her interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, which aired yesterday.

Still, at a minimum, it’s a chance for Facebook to distribute its sales pitch — we’re huge/we’re still growing! — to lots of different outlets. We’ll see if investors want to hear anything else.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald