The Facebook Fiasco

by Rich Lowry


Investors were still shaking their heads over the botched opening trading of Facebook when Reuters reported late Monday that the consumer Internet analyst at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley cut his revenue forecasts for Facebook in the days before the offering.

JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, which were also underwriters on the deal, each revised its estimates during the road show as well, according to sources familiar with the situation.

One mutual fund source said they had never, in a decade of experience, seen an underwriter cut a company’s outlook during the road show prior to an offering….

As bad as the declines have been, a view persists that the stock remains overvalued.

With Monday’s closing price of $34.03, the market implied a 24 percent annual growth rate for earnings over the next 10 years — a rate that would rank above 90 percent of the companies in that industry.

Thomson Reuters Starmine, meanwhile, more conservatively estimates a 10.8 percent annual growth rate, which would value the stock at $9.59 a share, a 72 percent discount to its IPO price of $38.

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