A case was filed by an investor Gaye Jones against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s underwriters, alleging that Facebook was aware of the weak revenue trends before its IPO, but did not reveal this information. Several other investors have also sued Facebook over more or less the same issue. There is further a mention in the complaint that the information was only made available to selective IPO underwriters as well, as the important investors.
“The defendants were unjustly enriched because they realized enormous profits and financial benefits from the IPO, despite knowing that reduced revenue and earnings forecasts for the company had not been publicly disclosed to investors,” the complaint said, according to Reuters.
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), the largest social network site, is deep into legal battles after its $16 billion IPO last May. The opening of Facebook on NASDAQ at $38 a share, after a slim hike the stock started declining in the days and weeks afterwards and went up to $27 per share in a month. In the lawsuits, the defendant stated that Facebook did not reveal that there was “a severe and pronounced reduction” in forecasts for Facebook’s revenue growth.
According to the lawsuit, the directors and other defendants should release the money, which they made while selling the stock through its IPO, when they knew that it was overpriced.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said in a statement “we believe this lawsuit is without merit and will defend ourselves vigorously.”
More than 50 investors filed the lawsuit immediately after the IPO on the stock exchange, which also underwent some technical issues on NASDAQ. A proposed class action is being heard in a federal court, in Manhattan.
The lawsuit of Jones is a derivative case, which implies that the investor is trying to get the benefit and that if any money is recovered from Zuckerberg and others through a settlement or judgment, it will be payable to Facebook and not its shareholders. U.S district Court Judge Robert Sweet has dismissed four identical cases previously in Manhattan.
The judge said that the shareholders did not buy the stock prior to the IPO and though the plaintiffs alleged that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) did not reveal information to the public, the company had “repeatedly made express and extensive” cautions regarding the increased use of mobile application.
The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, where Facebook is incorporated, and also named as defendants of the IPO underwriters – units of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS).