How PR Drove Facebook’s IPO
May 16, 2012 Leave a comment
Sometimes an amazingly effective PR campaign can be a dangerous thing. Take Facebook for example. The company raised the price range for its IPO to $34 to $38 a share, from $28 to $35 a share. That illustrates how the media frenzy has hungry investors biting at the bit for this offering. It also shows how perception can create what could be a false reality perhaps blinding investors to the reality of the situation. Facebook’s initial price range put its valuation at $77 billion to $96 billion, but now that shifts to $93 billion to $104 billion under this revised price range. That, my friend, is a lot of money.
Facebook has yet to prove that its $3.7 billion in revenue and $1 billion in profits last year can justify such astronomical evaluation. . Last month, Facebook disclosed that its first-quarter profit and revenue shrunk from the fourth quarter of 2011. The company claimed that it was do to seasonal trends in advertising.
Facebook going public can be dangerous. The pressure of being a public company can make companies lose sight of what made them so successful to start. When it comes to Facebook, the pressure will be particularly great. Its earnings are quite a ways below its projections. It’s hard to see how it will find a way to grow at the lightning speed investors will not only expect, but demand.
Another red flag is that Facebook has real exposure to Europe. Apparently over twenty five percent of its users are fromEurope, giving Facebook definite financial exposure on that front. With the state of the European economy, and Facebook’s reliance on European advertising, that could be dangerous.
According to the media, most savvy investors seem to be shying away from Facebook’s IPO. There are probably some credible reasons for that. This is not to say that Facbook is not an amazing success story. Its success and growth have been astronomical; still that doesn’t necessarily justify such aggressive valuations. And that’s where the media and PR frenzy comes into play. From newspaper and magazine articles to radio and TV segments Facebook’s IPO has been a front page story for weeks. And then of course, there is Facebook itself. The social media outlet is its own non stop marketing machine. The buzz creates more interest and investors start beating the investment drums. It looks like a difficult road for Facbook to live up to those projections; time will tell whether the drum beating will lead to success or investor disappointment.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012
Flauraud, Valentin. “he loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny.” Photo. Chicago Tribune. 16 May 2012. 16 May 2012. <http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/sns-rt-us-facebook-retailbre84f0x2-20120516,0,4596444.story>