Scapegoat for Facebook's IPO: CFO ... or You?

NYT pins it on the exec, but others say investors themselves are to blame
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2012 1:40 PM CDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Thursday, July 12, 2012.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) – Financial writer Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times has set off much chatter today with a scathing column about Facebook's IPO that pins most of the blame on company CFO David Ebersman. Sorkin finds it odd that the 42-year-old has largely escaped mention even though he played a huge role in setting the share price and the number of shares offered. "Ebersman appears to have badly misjudged the demand for Facebook’s IPO," writes Sorkin. The result has been a staggering $50 billion loss in market value in just three months—and yet very little accountability.

Two responses with different takes:

  • Mark Cuban, Gizmodo: "Just ridiculous," he writes of blaming the CFO. If investors who lost money (as Cuban did) are looking to blame anyone, they should look in the mirror, not toward Ebersman. He raised about $10 billion for his company in the IPO. In other words, he did his job. But investors—or their brokers—who were looking for an easy payday failed to do theirs.
  • Henry Blodget, Business Insider: Blaming Ebersman is convenient but "grossly unfair," he writes. That's like blaming the housing crash on people who sold their homes at the top of the market in 2007. Sorry, investors, but "when you choose to participate in this completely voluntary activity, and it doesn't work out the way you had hoped, you have only yourself and your advisers to blame."
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