[By Sudarshana Banerjee]
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cashed out 30.2 million Facebook shares at $37.58 a pop on March 22. That’s a whopping payout of some $1.3 billion. And then the FB stock tanked.
The transaction happened in the middle of angry shareholders suing Facebook and the company’s lead underwriter for the IPO, Morgan Stanley, for not adequately revealing Facebook’s growth prospects (or rather, the lack thereof) before the company went public. Morgan Stanley, along with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan, reportedly downgraded their forecasts just before the offering. However, these details were not really made public, and the average investor was kept in the hopeful dark.
While Zuckerberg still has considerable financial interests in Facebook, and it is not unusual for CEOs to sell their stocks from time to time (they have to eat, and get their private yachts and so on and so forth), Zuckerberg’s decision to cash out so much, so fast, is raising concerned eyebrows.
In separate developments, Nasdaq is catching considerable flak based on how it botched Facebook’s Wall Street debut with technical glitches. According to some reports, Facebook is considering a move to the New York Stock Exchange from Nasdaq, after the debacle.
At the time of writing, FB was at $32.10 in after-hours trading, a wee bit of recovery for the stock, but nowhere close to the anticipated glitz, glamor and fireworks.