Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been getting a lot of attention for not attending an IPO kickoff meeting the company held for bankers and analysts earlier this week. Zuckerberg is making it clear that he will continue to devote his energy to Facebook’s product — its social networking service — and that he will not be playing a role, at least not a visible one, in the events surrounding the company’s initial public offering.
Interestingly, the reaction to Zuckerberg’s hands-off approach regarding Facebook’s IPO has been positive overall. The young exec has delegated the task of managing the IPO to his company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and chief financial officer, David Ebersman, and most Wall Street insiders are indicating they approve of Zuckerberg’s devoting himself to Facebook’s technology at the expense of taking an active role in the business and investment side of the operation.
Business as usual definitely appears to be the best course for Facebook to follow right now. The Internet giant is regarded as a super-hot commodity on Wall Street — truly the “It” company of the moment. As Randall Smith, WSJ Money & Investing reporter, notes, “This is not exactly a company where management has to sweat and strain to sell the [IPO] deal. … I’ve talked to people who’ve never bought a stock in their life, and, because they use Facebook or know about Facebook, this is the one that they’re going to start with.”
Clearly, Facebook has immense clout in the business world right now. The last thing it should do is start tinkering with its formula.
Cut ’Em In Half
Meanwhile, Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and chairman of HDNet, writes in his blog that even though he detests U.S. patent law as it’s currently constituted, he’s rooting for Yahoo to win big in its patent lawsuit filed against Facebook last week. No, check that: Cuban is rooting for Yahoo to win huge. The maverick head Maverick asserts that Facebook’s alleged infringements of Yahoo’s patents are worth $50 billion in damages.
I find it intriguing that Cuban arrived at that figure. It’s exactly half of the $100 billion that many insiders estimate Facebook will be worth after it completes its IPO.
PETE FEHRENBACH is a senior associate editor with Smart Business Magazine. He is responsible for the magazine’s Atlanta and Dallas editions and special reports. You can reach him at