Lawsuits mount over Facebook IPO debacle

Trial lawyers smelled blood as furious investors began filing suits over losses on Facebook's disastrous $16 billion IPO, with billions of dollars possibly at stake in coming litigation.

More than a half-dozen law firms specializing in investor complaints said they were launching class action suits against the social networking giant and its underwriters.

The suits alleged that Facebook, and Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and other big Wall Street banks that distributed the shares withheld from smaller investors crucial forecasts that pointed to weaker growth for Facebook, while sharing the information with big institutional clients.

A separate lawsuit against the Nasdaq exchange said its massive technical problems on the first day of Facebook trade on Friday also resulted in losses to investors.

All told the claims could come to billions: more than $15 billion dollars has been wiped from the company's value since the initial public offering gave it a market capitalization of $104 billion.

Facebook vehemently defended itself in its first public comment since the IPO, as the first suit, from the Brian Roffe Profit Sharing Plan and two other investors, was lodged in the New York District Court.

"We believe the lawsuit is without merit and will defend ourselves vigorously," a Facebook spokesperson said.

The class-action suits all said that US securities laws were violated when the company and its main IPO bankers allegedly provided information to large clients but not others.

They "failed to disclose that during the IPO roadshow, the lead underwriters... cut their earnings forecasts and that news of the estimate cut was passed on only to a handful of large investor clients, not to the public," said law firm Glancy Binkow & Goldberg.

On the same grounds the Massachusetts state government issued a subpoena for the lead underwriter, Morgan Stanley, over how it shared information ahead of the massive share sale.

Morgan Stanley is being blamed for cutting its own internal Facebook earnings forecasts even while supporting the company in increasing the size of the IPO by 25 percent to 421 million shares, and raising the issue price sharply to $38 a share.

Investors had hoped to turn quick and easy profits on the shares when they hit the market Friday, given the lengthy buildup and how previous IPOs by tech giants like Google and LinkedIn rocketed upward.

But the launch flopped, the price barely staying up above the $38 level in the first day of trade and then plunging 18 percent over the next two sessions.

The price rebounded slightly in trade Wednesday, climbing 3.2 percent to $32.00, but remained well below the $38 that the initial IPO investors paid.

The episode cast a dark cloud over what was supposed to be the brightest market opportunity for investors in years and over a company with nearly one billion users but which still faces questions on whether it cares what investors think.

"The Facebook debacle is coming off as an insult to individual investors. It looks like the worst of Wall Street hype with a dose of chicanery to boot," said Dick Green at Briefing.com.

"Insiders certainly look like the winners and individual investors the losers."

On Tuesday Morgan Stanley insisted it followed all appropriate procedures in the IPO, including disseminating the update Facebook filing, the "S1", to all of the company's institutional and retail investors.

"In response to the information about business trends, a significant number of research analysts in the syndicate who were participating in investor education reduced their earnings views to reflect their estimate of the impact of the new information," the banks said in a statement.

As the lawyers took action in the courts, major retail brokers said they were trying to sort out investor complaints of losses due to Nasdaq's inability Friday to process trading orders correctly.

"We understand that Nasdaq is working with federal regulators to determine what, if any, accommodation might be made," Fidelity, the giant retail broker, told its clients, hinting that some compensation for losses might be available.

Regulators were also reported examining what happened with the underwriters, and the banking committee of the US Senate was also informally gathering information on the case.

"If true, the allegations are a matter of regulatory concern to FINRA and the SEC," Rick Ketchum, the chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, said in a statement.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options