A number of media sources are reporting that Facebook will file for an initial public offering this week.
Apparently, Morgan Stanley is to be the lead underwriter. Goldman Sachs is also expected to play a major role.
Facebook, with its 800 million members, has become the new standard platform for communication between people.
The IPO is expected to raise about $10 billion with a valuation of at least$75 billion. By comparison, Google (GOOG) raised $1.9 billion in an IPO with a valuation of $23 billion back in 2004.
Previously the largest technology IPO was done by Infineon (IFX), a former semiconductor subsidiary of Siemens (SI).
The big question for investors is should they buy Facebook stock.
In the coming days, there will be much analysis of revenues, profits, gross margins, cash flow, growth rates and the like. Certainly, such analysis will be of interest to talking heads, newsletter writers, and academics. Media will love the story as it will generate more page views, sell more magazines or put more eyeballs on the TV screen at CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox.
From a practical point of view for an investor, doing the foregoing analysis is an unnecessary torture of brain cells. None of the traditional fundamental analysis is going to matter.
The reality is that underwriters will price the IPO based on demand under the ruse of comparisons with recent internet IPOs such as Zynga (ZNGA), LinkedIn (LNKD), Pandora (P), and Groupon (GRPN).
For an investor who has paid large commission dollars to brokers, the task is a no-brainer, back up the truck and buy as many shares as you can get.
Can a situation similar to Zynga develop with Facebook? Zynga came public at $10, briefly traded higher and then went below $10 and has stayed below $10.
An astute investor who can get shares in the IPO should always consider putting a stop loss order just below the syndicate bid. Syndicate bid is usually at the offering price. Some brokers may not allow such a stop loss order.
For those not able to get shares in the IPO, the question will be to buy or not after the open. Since there is no way to know the opening price, it is impossible to answer this question.
Based on my 30 years of experience, investors are well advised not to buy at the open. See how it trades for a few days. It will be a feast time for traders.
Again, any deep fundamental analysis or even sophisticated technical analysis will be a waste of time and energy. Success for a trader will come down to identifying the pattern of higher lows and higher highs. The task will be to buy on the dips and sell on the rips within the boundaries of the pattern.