No wonder Mark Zuckerberg put off an IPO for so long.
Raising more questions about Facebook’s future, we’re now learning that a Morgan Stanley analyst quietly reduced his revenue forecast in the run up to the social net’s big event.
Coming from Facebook’s lead underwriter, “the sudden caution very close to the huge initial public offering … was a big shock to some,” reports Reuters, citing sources. “They say it may have contributed to the weak performance of Facebook shares, which sank on Monday -- their second day of trading.”
Regarding the pre-event re-evaluation, Business Insider’s Henry Blodget writes: “This by itself is highly unusual (I've never seen it during 20 years in and around the tech IPO business).”
“But, just as important,” Blodget adds, “news of the estimate cut was passed on only to a handful of big investor clients, not everyone else who was considering an investment in Facebook.”
As a result of the company’s struggling stock, “Wall Street is playing the Facebook blame game,” The New York Times’ Dealbook blog writes. “It’s a huge disappointment,” according to David Abella, a portfolio manager at Rochdale Investment Management. “Investors were expecting easy money on this one.”
“Facebook and its promoters were too greedy,” accuses The Guardian. “Almost every detail of this IPO demanded a conservative approach to valuation. Insiders were selling heavily; the business is immature … and the almighty sum of $16bn had to be raised. Yet the pricing of the shares was lifted in the closing week to satisfy demand that turned out to be wafer-thin.”
As Reuters recalls, the change in Morgan Stanley's estimates came on the heels of Facebook's filing of an amended prospectus with the SEC, in which the company expressed caution about revenue growth.