VENTURES AFRICA – The latest instalment of Facebook’s ground breaking IPO has seen a suit filed against defendants: CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, and banks including Morgan Stanley, as shareholders decry the secrecy in which Facebook’s controversial growth forecasts were handled by underwriters.
The social networking leader’s shareholders, who claim the defendants hid Facebook’s weakened growth forecasts ahead of its $16bn initial public offering (IPO), have filed double suits against them. The defendants are accused of concealing “a severe and pronounced reduction” in revenue growth forecasts from investors during the IPO marketing process. The forecasts had been due to increased use of Facebook’s app or website through mobile devices.
According to reports, the lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday. A day earlier, a similar lawsuit by a different investor was filed in a California state court, according to a law firm involved in that case.
Shareholders, in the New York case, said research analysts at several underwriters had lowered their business forecasts for Facebook during the IPO process, but that these changes were “selectively disclosed by defendants to certain preferred investors” rather than to the public generally.
“The value of Facebook common stock has declined substantially and plaintiffs and the class have sustained damages as a result,” the complaint said.
Representatives of Facebook and Morgan Stanley were not avaiable to comment on this immediately.
Meanwhile, investors continued to dump Facebook shares amid controversy about the company’s $16 billion IPO.
Facebook action dominated Nasdaq trade Tuesday, as the shares fell by 8.6 percent in its third day of trade amid accusations that leading underwriters had cut their projections days ahead of the initial public offering Friday.
The shares fell as far as $30.94, and closed at $31.12, leaving them 18.1 percent below the $38 IPO price.