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Facebook’s Big Day: The Highlights

Everything you need to get up to speed on the decade's biggest tech IPO

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Facebook’s Big Day: The Highlights
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The Facebook IPO has been dominating the news today. Unless you were present at NASDAQ or Facebook’s Menlo Park, California headquarters, it’s probable that you may have missed some details of the drama. It’s also very likely that you had concerns or obligations other than keeping up on Facebook news today.

Luckily, the New York Post has been live-blogging the momentous occasion for those of us who haven’t become billionaires today. To familiarize yourself with the topic and arm yourself with some talking points for the inevitable Facebook-centered conversations this weekend, here are some of the highlights of Facebook’s big day:

  • Facebook priced its shares at $38 each, the high end of predicted price ranges. By offering over 421 million shares, Facebook raised around $16 billion dollars.
  • This price values Facebook at $104 billion, or about half the value of Wal-Mart.
  • Facebook celebrated the IPO with an all-night employee “hackathon” complete with beer, street hockey, and LEGOS.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, sold 30 million shares today, making around $1.15 billion in cash. He also controls 32% of Facebook’s shares, making his net worth more than $19 billion. Zuckerberg is now the 29th richest person in the world.
  • Before the NASDAQ opened for the day, Zuckerberg said the following to his employees:

    “Right now this all seems like a big deal. Going public is an important milestone in our history. But here’s the thing: Our mission isn’t to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. In the past eight years, all of you out there have built the largest community in the history of the world. You’ve done amazing things that we never would have dreamed of, and I can’t wait to see what you guys all do going forward.”

  • Watch as the 28-year-old Zuckerberg presses a button and makes himself a multi-billionaire:

    Watch live streaming video from nasdaq at livestream.com
  • Zuckerberg was given a commemorative hoodie from NASDAQ to mark the occasion.
  • Facebook stock was set to begin trading at 11 am, but was delayed 30 minutes. NASDAQ stated the delay was due to technical glitches caused by the incredible demand for the stock.
  • Facebook stock began trading at 11:30 am for $42.25 per share, but quickly dipped back down to around $38. The stock then climbed back to hover around $40 for most of the day, before ending the day right back at its original value: $38.18.

    A graph of Facebook's stock price on its first day
    (graph courtesy Yahoo! Finance)

  • This moderate performance disappointed many, and fell far short of some analysts’ wild expectations. Also, this weak performance may have caused game company Zynga’s stock to fall off a cliff.
  • Over 500 million Facebook shares were traded on its first day, a record for an IPO.
  • The excitement around the Facebook brand has generated the most small investor demand for an IPO in history. This is something that billionaire Mark Cuban warned against on Thursday.
  • Facebook still hasn’t shed it’s privacy issues. On today, of all days, a San Jose judge allowed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook to proceed. The lawsuit concerns Facebook’s tracking of users who are not logged into its website, but a Facebook spokesperson stated that “We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously.”

There you have it. In the end, the unbelievable hype over Facebook’s stock might have prevented it from soaring too high, and investors were responsible and restrained with their trading. What comes next for Facebook’s stock is unclear, but what is clear is that the company now has investors to please on a quarterly basis. That means Facebook will be pushing hard to increase its revenue using every possible method. What that will mean for Facebook users could end up being the most interesting story of 2012.

(via New York Post)

Facebook’s Big Day: The Highlights
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  • Mark Zuckerberg

    I’m a billionaire now, so the rest of you can suck it!