Facebook IPO Price Was Exactly Right. For the Company

There's been so much "analysis" in the popular press over the meager 23-cent uptick in the price of Facebook's initial stock offering that it seems like someone has forgotten Business 101.

The company that went public here obviously did so precisely correctly. By pricing its initial stock at $38, the company hit exactly what the market agreed it was worth. That is rare. And it means, among other things, that Facebook didn't leave a lot of money on the table. 

See, if they offered shares at, say, $33 and the price jumps to $38, a bunch of investors are delighted. But the company only sees the proceeds of the initial sale, not the subsequent re-sales between investors. So if the stock is priced so low it makes these investors happy, it means the company didn't take in as much as it could — and should — have.

As it is, the company realized nearly as much from the IPO as the market felt it was worth. Brilliant job by the investment bankers who priced the offering. The purpose of the market is to enable companies to raise funds for expansion and operation, not to make a bunch of individuals whose only claim to fame for the most part is being in the right place at the right time wealthy.

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