Morgan Stanley will pay back investors ripped off by Facebook trades
Amid a flurry of lawsuits over Facebook’s IPO, Morgan Stanley, the company’s top underwriter, says it’s prepared to pay back investors who were burned when they bought shares.
Morgan Stanley announced in a memo on Wednesday that it is reviewing Facebook trades and would adjust prices for some retail customers who overpaid.
The IPO mishaps have sparked numerous lawsuits against Morgan Stanley, the NASDAQ stock exchange and Facebook itself by shareholders who claimed they hid the social networking company’s weakened growth forecasts just before it went public.
The allegations raised questions about whether top investors profited at the expense of smaller buyers.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Facebook’s much-anticipated IPO was delayed by a half-hour on Friday because of technical glitches on the NASDAQ.
After pricing at $38, Facebook’s stock closed up 23 cents on Friday and has been down since. On Wednesday, it closed up $1, at $32, still down nearly 16% from the IPO price.
NYSE declined to comment.
The news comes as even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dumped his own shares in the company, making $1.13 billion as the stock nosedived, according to company filings.
On Wednesday, shareholders filed a lawsuit against Facebook and the banks behind the company’s stock, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
Additionally, both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have begun looking into the matter.
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee has also launched an inquiry and the state of Massachusetts has subpenaed Morgan Stanley, demanding answers.
The House Financial Services Committee said that it was also gathering information for their own review.
Facebook stock rose 3.3% in trading on Wednesday, rising to $32 a share.
However, a new analysis said the stock could fall to as low as $9.59.
That’s a far cry from the $37.58 that Zuckerberg fetched for 30.2 million shares he unloaded on Friday.
By the end of trading on Tuesday however the price had dropped to $31 meaning Zuckerberg saved himself a cool $174 million by getting out early.
Mark Zuckerberg, 28, still holds a vast amount of Facebook stock but his decision to sell off so much will leave investors wondering about his confidence in the company.
The drop is based around the realization that Facebook might not be growing as quickly as initially thought. And the company’s second-quarter growth will likely fall short of expectations as fewer new users join the social networking giant.
Shareholders filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, alleging that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook and the banks that backed the Initial Public Offering, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, knew this information, but weren’t forthcoming with it.
On Tuesday, Reuters revealed that the banks’ analysts downgraded their estimates about the future earnings of the company while they were rolling out the IPO.
Business Insider called the move “unprecedented”.
Furthermore, the website reported that the banks revealed to privileged major investors that the share price was likely to tank, but left smaller stock buyers in the dark about this information.
The Securities and Exchange commission is investigating these allegations and the state of Massachusetts has filed a subpoena demanding Morgan Stanley release information about the IPO.
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