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Facebook Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude according to Merriam-Webster is defined as: “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.”

Now that Facebook ($FB) stock has decisively breached the $20 barrier and the lockup preventing early investors from selling the stock is now off it seems like now more than ever the financial media and blogosphere is reveling in the company’s “troubles.” Take for instance this lead sentence from a piece by David de Jong at Bloomberg:

The fortune of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc. (FB)’s co-founder and CEO, dropped to a new low today. The 28-year-old’s net worth fell to $10.2 billion, its lowest point since the company’s May 17th initial public offering, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Who, besides Zuckerberg, really cares? Zuckerberg is still worth $10.2 billion than the vast majority of Americans. The implicit assumption in much of the coverage of Facebook is that the company is getting their just desserts. That may or may not be the case. There is plenty of blame to go around for the failed Facebook IPO, but playing gotcha with Zuckerberg, Morgan Stanley ($MS) or the company’s early investors is simply a waste of your time.* All that matters to current or potential investors in Facebook is how much the company is worth and when will the stock price reflect a new more muted reality.**

Henry Blodget, James Stewart and Peter Eavis all note that Facebook stock is getting punished because the company is in the eyes of investors transitioning from a hypergrowth company to a facing some substantial headwinds. Unfortunately for investors and Facebook employees it is unlikely that a quick turnaround in the stock is imminent. Blodget writes:

Most of the stocks of growth companies go through the painful transition that yours is going through: The transition is from “hyper-growth” to long-term growth. Hyper-growth gets extremely high stock valuations. Long-term growth does not. And the transition between the two can keep stocks trading sideways for many, many years.

One can rightfully argue at what price Facebook’s stock will, if ever, be a buy. Do what you want with the stock; buy it, short it or simply ignore it. The fact is that is no one else including Mark Zuckerberg cares whether you have a position in Facebook. Conversely you shouldn’t care what effect the stock price has on Zuckerberg or any one else. Your schadenfreude is wasted emotion. Save your emotional energy for things that really matter in your life.

This is clearly not a fun time at Facebook and the media will continue to take shots at Zuckerberg, et al so long as the stock continues to sink. What you, or the media, cannot argue is that Zuckerberg et al. built a real business reaching hundreds of millions of people around the world. Something very few of us scribbling away on the Internet will ever be able to say for ourselves.

*Frankly, this post may be a waste of my time.

**No position in Facebook.

Items worth a look:

Make no mistake: Facebook is a real company.  (Covestor)

When the network effect goes in reverse.  (James B. Stewart)

Facebook investors cash out.  (WSJ)

Dear Facebook employees: here’s the truth about your stock price.  (Henry Blodget)

Finding the Facebook magic.  (Peter Eavis)

One reason to flood the Facebook market.  (Term Sheet)

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