IP Uh Oh

Is Facebook CFO David Ebersman Responsible for the Company’s Bungled IPO?

Mr. Ebersman bought into his own hype and misinterpreted stock orders.
 Is Facebook CFO David Ebersman Responsible for the Companys Bungled IPO?

(Photo: The D Networks)

It’s been almost four months since Facebook’s alarmingly botched IPO, and yet its specter still haunts the markets. On Friday, $FB stock closed at $18.06 a share, dropping a sharp 5.40 percent in a single day–the worst drop a tech company experienced that day. (Comparatively, Zynga–which has been widely panned for its parachuting stock–only dropped 3.11 percent.) To date, Facebook has lost $50 billion in market value since its IPO.

And yet, despite much talk of banks and underwriters and Facebook’s nascent leadership team, we’ve yet to pin down a real target for our IPO ire. Luckily, Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin thinks he’s found the likely culprit: Facebook CFO David Ebersman, whom you’ve probably never even heard of:

And yet if there is one single individual more responsible than any other for the staggering mispricing of Facebook’s I.P.O., it is Mr. Ebersman. He signed off on the ever-increasing offer price, which ended up at $38 after the company had originally planned a price range of $29 to $34.

He — almost alone — pushed to flood the market with 25 percent more shares than originally planned in the final days before the offering. And since then, as the point person for investors, he has done little to articulate how or why the company’s strategy will lift the stock price any time soon.

According to Dealbook, Mr. Ebersman is ultimately guilty of buying into his own hype about the price of Facebook’s stock. Following a roadshow, it’s typical for investors to indicate that they’re interested in purchasing two or even three times more stock than they end up actually getting. Mr. Ebersman, writes Dealbook, “did not seem to appreciate what was happening. They seem to have believed their own hype and took those orders as real, giving them the misplaced confidence to push the I.P.O. to the highest possible price and issue more shares.”

So what will happen to Mr. Ebersman? Nothing, so far. As Dealbook points out, Zuck told employees following the IPO: “So, you’ve heard we’re firing David?”

He was just joking. Heh.

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