High Price for Facebook IPO

May 18, 2012 8:06am

Morning Business Memo

Sure it’s a really big deal, but is Facebook a smart investment? Analysts are deeply divided over the very high price. Expect an instant jump when trading begins late this morning, but later Facebook shares could slump. The world’s biggest-ever Internet IPO is being priced at the top end of expectations: $38 per share. That places the value of the company at $104 billion, even higher than Amazon or Disney. Many IPOs start off strong and sink later.

“For every Apple there are all these fantastic stories that were going to be great but never materialized,” says “Good Morning America” financial contributor Melody Hobson. “The Apples tend to be exception rather than the rule.”

But Facebook has its supporters. “We are no longer in the era of yell and sell marketing,” says Wes Nichols, CEO of the research and strategy firm MarketShare.  Skeptics say Facebook’s small profit certainly does not justify a high price, “We are in the era of consumers researching on their own connecting with brands directly on their own and actually establishing relationships with those brands and that’s a very different place for most marketers and consumers.” Facebook, he says, is well-positioned to take advantage of this new environment.

The stock market has fallen 11 out of 12 trading sessions. Investors have fled to “safe havens.”Yields for US Treasury and German bonds are at new lows. Credit downgrades slapped on 16 Spanish banks are the latest worry for investors. The move is linked to Spain’s recession, very high unemployment and collapsed real estate market. Political turmoil in Greece has raised the likelihood it could leave the 17-nation Eurozone – and unwinding its currency could have ripple effects throughout Europe.

Another big name in Silicon Valley is facing tough times. Hewlett-Packard is poised to eliminate as many as 30,000 jobs to compensate for dwindling demand for personal computers as more people connect to the Internet on smart phones and tablets. As much as 9 percent of HP’s workforce may be cut.

A Senate hearing is scheduled next month on JP Morgan Chase’s massive trading loss. CEO Jamie Dimon is said to be willing to testify. Democratic lawmakers have stepped up calls for stricter oversight of major financial firms.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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