Leave Mark Alone…

At the time that the Facebook IPO was put up and the company was put up for sale, everybody knew that Mark Zuckerberg was going to lead the company and that he was going to retain the majority voting rights. He had unequivocally announced that nothing was going to change at Facebook. Then why the hue and cry??

Facebook was a company that had little revenue to support its valuation. The company was to be listed at 100X. Or in layman’s terms 100 times the earnings that the company generating. Now, in the investment world for a fairly mature firm 10X to 15X is considered fair valuation given decent prospects in the coming years. For a high growth company, which happens to be the case with smaller firms due to the base effect, a higher multiple of 30X to even 150X in certain cases are considered.

Facebook will be a decade old, in another couple of years. A seventh of the world population is on it and another sixth (china) is banned from logging onto it. Such a firm by no means can be considered a growth firm. The first five years can be considered growth stage, this company was well and truly beyond that.

There were a few investors (Peter Thiel and company) who invested early into the company. Since Facebook was in no hurry to list, all the other VC firms that had not invested into Facebook early enough thought; ah, shucks, we should have invested there… So they did invest at whatever valuation was demanded by the team as facebook, with the last investment round of funding coming from Goldman Sachs at as abominable valuation (50 Billion USD). Now, in order for these latecomers to justify their investment, they needed to further inflate the valuation. Hence at the time of the IPO we landed up with a $100 Billion dollar valuation.

Every soul that invested at that valuation was foolish. There was no way that the company could have ever supported such a valuation. It was designed to fail. 

The stock is taking a drubbing not because of the way Mark is leading the firm, it was designed to take a drubbing.

Stop blaming him, blame the investment bankers who sold the IPO.

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