Regardless of whether anyone committed a crime, much less gets charged for one (don’t hold your breath), this ugly episode has shown very clearly how Wall Street, tech companies, and the venture capitalists who back them have been trying to inflate another bubble to enrich themselves. They were too incompetent this time to pull it off cleanly, as Audit contributor Felix Salmon shows in his “List of Incompetents,” but they did end up gouging plenty of folks.
If you were one of the suckers who bought at the open on Friday, you lost more than a quarter of your money in less than three trading days.
But the pace of the decline is what’s unusual about Facebook’s launch, not the decline itself. Here are the other major social-media (or social-ish) IPOs of the last year:
— Groupon: -55 percent since Novemeber
— Pandora: -43 percent since June
— Zynga: -28 percent since December
— Yelp: -28 percent since March
Only LinkedIn is trading above its bankers’ price level, up 7 percent since last May. And it’s not exactly a discount purchase with a price-to-earnings ratio of 627.
The rest of the above companies (except Facebook) don’t have P/E’s. They lose money.