(By R. Chandrasekaran) Ever since social network site Facebook filed its IPO application in February, there has been a spate of reports about the company's IPO, its valuation and the possible response to its IPO. The latest one is about the demand for IPO shares. Two reports contradict each other. However, they share one common thing, retail investors are upbeat about the IPO and ready to invest.
A late night report indicates that Facebook's IPO has generated lower demand than expected, specifically from institutional investors. This is primarily because of concerns over growth prospects for Facebbok. Concerns were heightened after the company admitted that its ad growth failed to keep pace with the users' growth.
During the road show, Facebook seems to have expressed to analysts that sales may fall short of optimistic projections, according to Bloomberg. Institutional investors were not showing the normal interest they normally show to underwriters on much hyped IPO. If institutional investors stay away or respond less than predicted, then more could be sold to retailers, who are showing interesting in the shares.
Facebook is planning to raise a maximum of $11.8 billion from its IPO, and its shares are likely to be listed on the Nasdaq starting May 18th under the symbol FB. The company is likely to announce it's pricing on the 17th.
However, there is another report that suggests that the issue has already been oversubscribed. A Reuters report suggests that demand from institutional investors has already exceeded supply. This is probably due to one big institutional investor having put in a big order a couple of days back.
The company has kept the price range of $28 - $35 and analysts are already predicting that Facebook will price at the upper band. If the demand is strong, there could be a chance of a higher price.
Although reports may provide conflicting pictures about institutional investors' potential demand, one thing seems to be clear, retail investors are clearly backing the IPO. This is quite strange considering that as much as $260 billion outflow from mutual funds was recorded after the financial crisis. At the same time, bonds generated more than $600 billion investments during the same period.
There is also unanimity about one issue, investors will look forward to Facebook coming out with fresh initiatives to lift its revenue growth in tune with users increase.