To call the Facebook IPO an unmitigated disaster would risk overstatement. To say that it suffered numerous problems would risk understatement that approaches folly. While media pundits called Facebook’s IPO in May of 2012 a “cultural touchstone” with a market capitalization that nearly peaked at $105 billion, things went downhill quickly.
Trading was scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, May 18, 2012 but that was pushed back over half an hour due to technical issues with the NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) where it was listed. That was simply a portent of what was to come. Had it not been for the underwriters of the stock instituting a “circuit breaker” Facebook would surely have closed the day below its valuation, as it was it still closed the day below the opening trading price. In 9 of the next 13 days, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares posted losses and led the venerable Wall Street Journal to label it a “fiasco.”
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Within three weeks of the IPO, investors had lost upwards of $40 billion. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s losses also reverberated through the market as a whole and even saw a number of companies delay their own IPOs including Kayak.com. Then came the lawsuits, over 40 of them.
While this recap of the IPO was painted in broad strokes and fails to bring in the charges against the primary underwriters, it was a mess. A mess that can’t be put solely on the shoulders of Mr. Ebersman.
Facebook reported impressive earnings today with a gain in revenue of 72%. Still, Mr. Ebersman has apparently decided to go enjoy his money.
Facebook: Ebersman’s past, future, and his replacement
He joined the company in 2009, and certainly reaped incredible gains by staying the course for two years after the IPO he put together. He will be replaced by David Wehner who has held the position of vice president of corporate finance and business planning since joining the company in 2012 after leaving the CFO position of Zynga.
Ebersman will officially step down on the first of June, but is believed he will stick around until September as Facebook finalizes its acquisition of Oculus VR before returning to the health care field from whence he came.
“Facebook’s business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement Wednesday without mention of Ebersman. “We’ve made some long term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business. We’re in great position to continue making progress towards our mission.”