A post has been making the rounds on the internet titled, “It’s Becoming Clear That No One Actually Read Facebook’s IPO Prospectus Or Mark Zuckerberg’s Letter To Shareholders.”
I had to admit that I was on the people who hadn’t read it. Of course, why would I? I wasn’t going to be buying any Facebook shares.
I didn’t need the prospectus to know that the hype was not justified. No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t find a rationale that supported the price.
Where do I start?
If you understand what is going on in the world of on-line advertising — if you did the slightest bit of homework — it would be obvious that it would have taken a small miracle for Facebook to deliver earnings that would justify the sale price. The only people who were going to make money on this deal were the original shareholders and those same people who gave you the mortgage backed securities debacle that nearly torpedoed the US economy.
Or even without understanding the industry, if you looked at the fundamentals alone — earnings versus share price — there was no possible support for the share price.
The only explanation I could find for the price? P. T. Barnum once said, “There’s one born every minute.” I wasn’t going to be part of it. So I paid no attention.
And frankly, I wrote off Zuckerberg.
That, as it turns out, was a mistake. Continue reading