We published a piece titled "4 Reasons To Stay Clear Of Facebook" a few days ago. This article presents 4 more reasons why the average investor will be better of staying away from Facebook (FB), at least for now. There is always a chance that any company could turn out to be a successful investment over the long term but right now, the signs are not in favor of FB.
Mark Zuckerberg: Yes, the genius who created this billion dollar empire. Where is he amidst all these allegations and fiasco about FB IPO? Yes, he got married last week and must be busy with his personal life. But come on, should the face of the company not issue a statement about these ? Even during the pre-IPO road show, Zuckerberg's involvement was very minimal. It is one thing to be a shy genius when you are running a private company but now with FB being a public, Zuckerberg must be more visible. No matter how hard Sheryl Sandberg and the others try managing the public relations. You think of FB, you think of Zuckerberg. Some investors are also concerned about Zuckerberg's view on what constitutes privacy.
Question Of Trust: It is now very clear that FB and Morgan Stanley (MS) were both aware of reduced earnings expectations even before the stock started trading. But this news was kept away from the retail investors. With growing skepticism about FB and IPOs in general, this particular news is not a very good sign for the investors going forward. Where is the SEC when you need them ?
And, one cannot deny the fact that the investing public right now is much more skeptical of IPOs than it was say, during the 1999 bubble. Of the recent IPOs only LinkedIn (LNKD) has managed to post good returns to investors.
Increased Spending: In 2011, FB's marketing expense was up 132%, while profit was up 71%, which is not a bad number by itself but the increased spending on sales and marketing might be an indication that FB has to spend more going forward to acquire new users. In contrast, 2010 sales and marketing was up just 60% YOY but the revenue was up 150%. Maybe the ones who said FB should have gone public 2 years ago were right ?
Zynga: Zynga (ZNGA) currently accounts for 12% of FB's revenue. ZNGA has made it pretty clear about its intention to reduce its dependence on FB. As this video points out, FB and ZNGA are dependent on each other and it appears like ZNGA is taking the first shot at reducing the dependency, and rightly so, since FB contributes 96% of ZNGA's revenue. FB's ad revenue will also be affected if ZNGA reduces its dependency on FB.