Facebook IPO Fallout: Seven And A Half Things To Know

05/21/2012 07:58 am ET | Updated May 21, 2012
  • Mark Gongloff Managing Editor, Business and Tech, The Huffington Post

Thing One: Facebook Fallout: At least the Facebook IPO resulted in a wedding. Otherwise it might have been a total disaster.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg married his long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday in a surprise ceremony in his backyard -- a brilliant legal move, some California divorce lawyers told Reuters. A less-happy gathering also took place on Saturday, when Nasdaq's board met to discuss what the hell happened with Facebook's much-hyped IPO on Friday.

Trading was delayed and then marred by technical glitches, in which traders didn't know whether or not they'd actually purchased Facebook shares for several hours, the Wall Street Journal writes -- amounting to multiple eternities these days. Oh, and the stock price went nowhere, reflecting badly on the IPO underwriters, including Morgan Stanley, who had ratcheted up the price and size of the offering just ahead of the deal. For their sins, they spent much of Friday's debut burning through cash to keep the stock above the $38 offering price. There will be no such assistance this week, Reuters warns.

Update: Sure enough, Facebook shares are taking a beating in early trade this morning, recently down nearly 11 percent to just above $34 a share. Everybody who found it impossible to buy Facebook stock on Friday because of technical issues is thanking their lucky stars today.

Nasdaq acknowledged its systems failed to handle the flow of orders for new Facebook shares. It's just the latest example of why being able to trade bajillions of shares in milliseconds, as we do these days, is maybe not always so desirable. It also helps explain why retail investors are increasingly disgusted with a stock market that is largely in the hands of stock-trading robots. As one expert told the WSJ: "This isn't good for trust."

Thing Two: The Latest Summit To End All Summits: While we've all been distracted by the Facebook IPO, Europe has been quietly melting down. Again. Fortunately, European Union leaders hold the latest of seventeen thousand million summits this week to discuss their problems. It looks like it could be another awkward week for Angela Merkel, who will find it a little harder to push austerity, now that anti-austerity sentiment is on the political rise across Europe, including in Germany, the Financial Times writes. She may get a taste of what's to come in a preliminary meeting today with France's new pro-growth President Francois Hollande. Speaking of acrimony, Greek politicians don't look like they could agree on a lunch order, much less a solution to their debt problems, writes Reuters. That doesn't bode well for the country's ability stay in the euro zone, Reuters writes.

Thing Three: JPMorgan's Game Of Risk: Once upon a time -- say, two weeks ago -- JPMorgan Chase had a sterling reputation for risk management, having survived the financial crisis more or less intact (with only a few gentle nudges from the U.S. taxpayer). Now its reputation for risk management is slowly being put through the wood chipper, after its $3 billion (and growing) loss on credit derivatives. Not helping matters is a Wall Street Journal story that the risk manager at the bank's staid chief investment office had a history of not exactly being the greatest at, you know, the managing of the risk.

Thing Four: Insider Trading Trial: That rumbling sound you hear is the noise of a herd of courthouse reporters stampeding to the Federal District Court in Manhattan, where the insider-trading trial of former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta begins today. According to Peter Lattman and Azam Ahmed of The New York Times, Gupta is "the most prominent criminal defendant ensnared by the Justice Department’s sweeping campaign to end insider trading." Gupta's defense team will resort to soiling the good name of Goldman Sachs, claiming basically that everybody who worked there was constantly broadcasting insider information like a rotating sprinkler.

Thing Five: China Runs Your Movie Theater: China's Dalian Wanda Group is buying AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion, in what will be the biggest-ever purchase of a foreign target by a private Chinese company, Reuters notes. The deal will also make the Chinese company the biggest U.S. theater operator. The deal also enhances the growing relationship between China and Hollywood, The New York Times writes.

Thing Six: Corporate Divorces: Two other big deals over the weekend and early Monday morning represent break-ups rather than unions: Yahoo finally cut a deal to sell off a stake in China's Alibaba Group for more than $7 billion, the Wall Street Journal writes, the latest and biggest step in a long and bitter divorce between the two that has weighed on Yahoo's stock price. And UK bank Barclays will sell its stake in US money manager BlackRock for more than $6 billion.

Thing Seven: Pay Good news, I guess: Corporate pay is more closely aligned with corporate performance, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis: "CEO pay during 2011 was more firmly correlated to how well companies fared in the stock market, a change from 2010, when pay and performance were not directly related." Investors are pushing companies to make better compensation decisions, the WSJ writes, although their success is described as "modest."

Thing Seven And One Half: Sit Down, He Explained: New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley would like to know when we started giving standing ovations to everything with a pulse. He blames the tourists.

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Calendar Du Jour:

Economic Data:

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Corporate Earnings:

Before Market Open:

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Heard On The Tweets:

@edrabbit: Why is Facebook going public? They couldn't figure out the privacy settings either.

@jmackin2: $FB site still working. Can't they lend Nasdaq a server?

@joshsternberg: Can't Zuck and team do some of their hacking magic and fix NASDAQ?

@ReformedBroker: In retrospect, the FB tattoo might have been a bad idea...

@dkberman: 300,000-employee General Electric makes 14 times more than 3,500-employee Facebook. GE is valued at less than double Facebook. $GE $FB

@prendi23: You know you're a nerd when you bank 20 billion on Friday and go get married on Saturday.

@EddyElfenbein: Congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg on his wedding. The couple is registered at Morgan Stanley. All items are $38 -- not a penny less.

@m_delamerced: Thinking the banks are earning their fee today: pricing it at $38, then supporting that price no matter how much the market wants otherwise

-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.

And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja

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