“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”
You will recall this was the opening sentence of what turned out to be one of the most celebrated speeches in political history, when President-Elect Barack Obama claimed victory in the 2008 presidential campaign race.
It could however equally have been said by one Mark Zuckerberg who on this day, 18th May 2012, turned Facebook into a publicly
traded company on Nasdaq. He, along with his team, have created a few records that will take some time to be beaten.
- At $104 billion it is the world’s most valuable IPO, four times larger than Google’s in 2004. This represents 28x last year’s revenues and 103x last year’s income. At the $38 share price, a forward PE of 63!
- Raising $16 billion it is the largest tech IPO in history
- At $2.2bn it has been funded more than any other start-up, by some of the biggest VC names
- At 13 has acquired more companies (all start-ups) pre-IPO than any other business
- At 901m monthly active users (MAUs) is the world’s most popular social network site
- At 28 years old (just) he is the youngest CEO of a Fortune 1000 company to go public. His nearest (age) rival is Larry Page, the 39 year old CEO of Google.
It would be churlish not to raise our hats to an amazing young man, his management team, the FB team and those who made insightful early investments, on this their special day.
On the other side of the world, not quite geographically, but it feels a million miles away, this is what is going on in Europe.
- Europe’s nation states are tottering under staggering debt mountains
- Greece may/may not withdraw from the Euro, which itself may or may not survive
- Spain has just nationalised its 4th largest bank, Bankia, leading to a massive withdrawal of funds as account holders take fright
- HSBC, the world’s 3rd largest bank, is considering withdrawing from the UK in the light of incoming finance regulations that are said to be too demanding
- Moody’s the credit-rating agency is reviewing the rating of 114 European institutions
And the (mainly negative) news keeps coming. Facebook day (?) brings these two perspectives of our western, capital-based economy into stark contrast. I am somewhat bewildered by the reported comments of one of FB’s founders, Eduardo Saverin, now no longer connected with the company and based in Singapore. He is reported to have commented on his $3bn net worth: “Right now, I don’t know how to deploy the capital and the blessings.”
Here’s my (free and heart-felt) advice to you, Eduardo, and the 1,000 FB millionaires and handful of FB billionaires created today.