Facebook’s record-setting IPO was the talk of the town leading up to last Friday when shares were made available for purchase on the NASDAQ. To say that the process went smoothly would be the understatement of the century. The IPO was first plagued with computer glitches that delayed transactions and as the past few days have played out, share prices have dropped like a rock.
Now that the excitement has died down a bit and the dust has started to settle, the finger-pointing begins. Business Insider is reporting that Facebook investors have filed a civil lawsuit against the social network and their underwriters, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group through the law firm Robbins Geller, the same firm that won $7 billion in their Enron suit.
As the story goes, Morgan Stanley cut their estimates for the company during the road show for the IPO. The road show, often called a dog and pony show, is when the management of an IPO travels around the country to meet with investors in an effort to get them on board to buy shares.
This wouldn’t normally be an issue except they allegedly only told high-level investors about the cut. Everyone else interested in buying stock was none the wiser. Lawyers are arguing that this information never made its way to Facebook’s prospectus, which is an overview of the company’s financial health and risks.
Scott Sweet from research firm IPO Boutique said that some people in the know where concerned about the lower numbers and that it was very unusual for a lead underwriter to cut estimates so close to an IPO.
We’ll have to see how this one plays out in court or if Facebook ultimately decides to settle with the plaintiffs.