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Zuck, buy-back your shares!
Facebook shares are trading at less than 50% of their IPO value, and the street seems to have just about given up on the IPO. While Zuckerberg made some money by selling his stock initially, he can make a bigger killing by buying back Facebook’s shares from the market at the current dismally low prices
30/09/2012

Facebook is still a success story, but the gross underperformance of its shares post the much hyped IPO has certainly raised some eyebrows. Investor concerns seem to override their enthusiasm for the world’s most popular social network. Facebook, which was initially valued at $100 billion commands a far humbler m-cap of $41.03 billion as on August 27. The share stood at $19.15 on this day compared to the launch price of $41.

Investors are worried about the sustainability of social networking companies. The revenue tap is still not in the best of health with brands unsure about how to leverage these sites. A recent research by O&M and Ipsos covering 153 executives across A-PAC highlights that 66% of executives polled considered social networking sites to be great for buzz building (just 20% in India). However, only 2.6% considered them great for brand building. Facebook, which reported a loss of $743 million for Q2, 2012, has to really look for ways to change perceptions on that front. Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz sold 450,000 Class A shares in three days. Three top executives – Director of Platform Partnerships Ethan Beard, Director of Platform Marketing, Katie Mitic and Mobile Platform Marketing Manager Jonathan Matus have announced their resignations; indicating a major crisis of confidence across the board.

Although, Mark has made a lot of money with the IPO (he sold 30.2 million shares at $37.58 per share in May 2012), his wealth has shrunk drastically. Considering he owns around 503.6 million shares as per estimates (including stock options), his net worth as on September 4, 2012 stands at ‘just’ $9.64 billion. But he also has a great chance to make more money by buying back shares at the current prices, especially if he is certain of the company returning to its promised aura. This will also enable him to retain his vice-like grip over Facebook. To top it all, by betting on Facebook again, he could lead from the front and demonstrate his confidence in the company he founded. And if he really buys-back, you know which magazine he reads...

By:- Akram Hoque
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