Quote:And now comes some news about the Facebook (FB) IPO that buyers deserve to be outraged about.
Reuters' Alistair Barr is reporting that Facebook's lead underwriters, Morgan Stanley (MS), JP Morgan (JPM), and Goldman Sachs (GS) all cut their earnings forecasts for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow.
This by itself is highly unusual (I've never seen it during 20 years in and around the tech IPO business).
But, just as important, news of the estimate cut was passed on only to a handful of big investor clients, not everyone else who was considering an investment in Facebook.
This is a huge problem, for one big reason:
Selective dissemination. Earnings forecasts are material information, especially when they are prepared by analysts who have had privileged access to company management. As lead underwriters on the IPO, these analysts would have had much better information about the company than anyone else. So the fact that these analysts suddenly all cut their earnings forecasts at the same time, during the roadshow, and then this information was not passed on to the broader public, is a huge problem.
In other words, during the marketing of the Facebook IPO, investors who did not hear about these underwriter estimate cuts were placed at a meaningful and unfair information disadvantage. They did not know what a lot of other investors knew, and they suffered for it.
I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children… - Wendell Berry, 1971