Facebook goes public Friday. It could be worth well over $100 billion dollars. Want to get a piece of that? It's going to be very tricky for mere mortals to get Facebook stock in the IPO. If you want shares, here's what you have to do.
- "First, get a ton of money. Like tons. I am talking gazillions."
So says Peter Kupferberg, a principal at Chicago investment counseling firm Gofen and Glossberg. Most of the large online brokerage firms will at least take requests for Facebook shares, but they have rules. Some require existing balances of $500,000. Some will only consider people who already trade 30 times a day. Some even decide whether you're worthy on a case-by-case basis.
- "Then open a brokerage account at Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, but only open the account if they promise you Facebook stock."
Kupferberg says the deal stock goes first to the preferred customers of the banks underwriting the deal. Then it goes to the people with brokerage accounts who pass all the tests in Step 1. The scarce remainder goes to small investors to whom we wish the best of luck. If you make it that far, don't expect the current estimated share price of $40 to last long. Add scarcity of shares and stratospheric hype, stir, and you'll get what Kupferberg expects to be "a frenzy like we haven't seen in a while that will drive the price up to ridiculous levels."
Basically, if you want Facebook IPO shares, you have to be rich and powerful in order to be taken seriously.
Is Facebook A Good Investment?
"Long, long term, this could turn out to be a very good investment," Kupferberg says. "Do you see people not using it anytime soon?"
Kupferberg says that his firm's model thinks that Facebook is still reasonably valued around $40 per share. But in the very short term, it will be almost impossible for most people to get a piece of Facebook's IPO, and those who do will pay a high price for it. We're not investment counselors at ReadWriteWeb, but if you really want a piece of the Facebook action and didn't buy one on the private market five years ago, it seems like it couldn't hurt to wait a little while for the hype to burn off.
Disclosure: Peter Kupferberg is Jon Mitchell's uncle.
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