May 18, 2012 will be remembered as a day of more hype than substance. A
flurry of frenzied activity marked the first 30 seconds of Facebook's
(Nasdaq: FB) entry into the world of publicly traded companies with
volume surging to more than 80 million shares. By the end of the day,
an IPO record of nearly 567 million shares were traded as investors
clamored to own a piece of the social networking giant. But the stock
price hovered near its offering price.
On Thursday, Facebook priced its IPO at $38 per share to raise $16 billion. The stock opened higher at $42.05 and climbed to $45 only to retreat as the stock failed to catch fire. The largest internet IPO ended the historic day up a modest 23 cents to close at $38.23.
Originally slated to sell 337 million shares, Facebook cited strong demand for increasing its offering to approximately 421 million shares barely two days before making its market debut. Even with the added shares, the offering was greatly oversubscribed.
"Frankly, I think the excitement for Facebook is overdone," said Jason Raznick, CEO at Benzinga.com on Thursday. "I doubt that the stock will maintain the premium that has been building during the media frenzy. I'd be careful investing into it at the $38 IPO pricing."
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg rang Nasdaq's opening bell this morning as investors eagerly awaited active trading of FB on the tech heavy exchange. Zuckerberg sold 30.2 million of his shares which added $1.1 billion to his bank account.
Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 as a Harvard sophomore with membership limited exclusively to Harvard students. Membership was soon extended to other colleges and universities. Facebook now boasts over 900 million users around the world.
Facebook reported 2011 revenue of $3.7 billion and profit of $1 billion. With a valuation of approximately $104 billion, Facebook's P/E is a staggering 104.