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Inside Fumbled Facebook Offering

Published on May 22, 2012
by Shayndi Raice, Anupreeta Das and Gina Chon

Less than three days before Facebook Inc.’s initial public offering, Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman decided to boost the number of shares the company would offer investors by 25 percent, said people familiar with the planning. His main adviser at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley assured him there was plenty of demand, they said.

That decision by the 41-year-old Facebook executive may have doomed any real chance the social-networking company had that its shares would jump when trading began — a hallmark of successful IPOs. On Tuesday, the second full day of trading, Facebook shares fell $3.03, or 8.9 percent, to $31, after falling 11 percent on Monday. Investors are blaming the downdraft on the last-moment expansion of the offering.

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