And now for some more bombshell news about the FacebookIPO… Earlier, we reported that the analysts at Facebook’s IPO underwriters had cut their estimates for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow, a highly unusual and negative event.
What we didn’t know was why. Now we know. The analysts cut their estimates because a Facebook executive who knew the business was weak told them to. Put differently, the company basically pre-announced that its second quarter would fall short of analysts’ estimates. But it only told the underwriter analysts about this.
The information about the estimate cut was then verbally conveyed to sophisticated institutional investors who were considering buying Facebook stock, but not to smaller investors. The estimate cut appears to have influenced the investment decisions of at least some institutional investors, dampening their appetite for Facebook stock, and crucially, affecting the price at which they were willing to buy Facebook stock.
As I described earlier, at best, this “selective disclosure” of the estimate cut is grossly unfair to investors who bought Facebook stock on the IPO (or at any time since) and didn’t know about it. At worst, it’s a violation of securities laws.