Facebook Executives Kick Off Pre-IPO Road Show in NYC
Facebook's three most powerful executives kicked off a pre-IPO road show in New York City on Monday to a reception befitting a superstar rock band. The social network's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman used a side door at a Manhattan Sheraton hotel to avoid the throngs of people gathered in front of the building, then spent about half an hour answering questions from a group of about 400 investors invited to attend the event.
Facebook has indicated it plans to price its shares at between $28 and $35 a share, but even the most pessimistic of investors and analysts predict the actual launch price will be higher, as the company has grown into the biggest social network ever in just a few years, making it a very desirable platform for display advertisers, and the growth has so far not shown any signs of slowing. Still, investors did voice a few concerns at the Q&A session, mainly related to how Facebook is planning on monetizing its expanding mobile user base.
Zuckerberg admitted during the event that the company is having difficulty in tracking its user base on mobile platforms, but said that a crew of capable engineers is hard at work on the problem, though he declined to offer any details. Zuckerberg was also asked about the company's plans moving forward in terms of acquisitions, in light of the recent $1 billion purchase of Instagram. But Zuckerberg said that Instagram was a unique opportunity, and investors shouldn't expect a run of large acquisitions to follow.
Facebook is expected to decide on final pricing for its shares on Thursday, May 17th and begin trading the following day on the Nasdaq composite exchange under the ticker symbol "FB". Zuckerberg, Sandberg and Ebersman will follow up their New York appearance with a stop at the Four Seasons in Boston on Tuesday. The road show will then proceed over the next two weeks to traverse the US, finishing up May 16th in Menlo Park, California, where the company is headquartered.