Posts filed under “IPOs”

What Is Facebook Really Worth?


My Washington Post Sunday Business column is out. This morning, we look at how overvalued the $100 billion dollar Facebook IPO is.

The print version had the full headline What’s Facebook worth? Much less than advertised — in the online edition, it was Less than meets the eye at Facebook.

Its based on my discovery from the Facebook S1 filing that merely clicking on a “Like” button anywhere on the internet counts you as an active user according to FB’s unique metrics.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

“Last week, I made a surprising discovery about Facebook: It has far fewer “active” users than it claims. I learned this from a note buried deep in the company’s S1 — the IPO document it filed with the SEC in order to go public. Based on its S1, the social-networking giant’s value is probably much less than most investors seem to think.

One advantage of working in finance is that you get to meet lots of very nice, really smart people such as David Wilson, who writes the Chart of the Day column for Bloomberg. His column is my Sudoku, as I challenge myself to poke holes in the correlations it identifies between various assets. It’s good wonky fun.

On Feb. 3, the column used Facebook’s SEC data to show how fast the firm was growing. FB was becoming a “daily habit for more users,” and the numbers from the IPO filing were extraordinary: 845 million Monthly Active Users and 483 million Daily Active Users.

MAU? DAU? I had never heard of either metric, and novel accounting for public companies is always a red flag. Don’t just take my word for it, ask a Groupon investor.

I thought these metrics were suspect. If you do not have to go to to be counted as an active user, are the metrics misleading? I asked Wilson, who pointed to details in the S1:

Daily Active Users (DAUs). We define a daily active user as a registered Facebook user who logged in and visited Facebook through our Web site or a mobile device, or took an action to share content or activity with his or her Facebook friends or connections via a third-party Web site that is integrated with Facebook, on a given day. We view DAUs, and DAUs as a percentage of MAUs, as measures of user engagement.”

Let me translate: If you clicked a “Like” button anywhere on the Internet, then you are a Daily Active User. Even if you never go to”


I really like that the Post used the Limericks Économiques I referenced right at the start of the column:
click for ginormous version of print edition



Less than meets the eye at Facebook
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post, February 12 2012

Washington Post Sunday, February 12 2012 page G6 (PDF)

Category: IPOs, Valuation

Why @GSElevator Is a Fake

When the Twitter handle @GSElevator first launched, I followed it for a while, but soon thereafter unfollowed. Some of it was funny — very funny — but it read less like overheard true conversations, and more like what someone imagined would be overheard in a Goldie elevator. I hadn’t thought about it until a reader…Read More

Category: Corporate Management, Humor, IPOs

Who’s a Daily Facebook User? Anyone who clicks “Like”

I have been arguing that $100B is rather rich for Facebook. Perusing the S1, and discussing this with Bloomberg’s Dave Wilson has further confirmed this. Why? It has to do with what they consider a daily or monthly “user.” Indeed, this is extremely significant, because the excitement about Facebook’s reach and user base is driving…Read More

Category: IPOs, Technology, Valuation

IPOs: From Netscape To Facebook

In case you were unaware, IPOs are terrible investments — at least most of the time. The lottery ticket dreams keeps hope alive that this next one is going to be a giant winner. Hopes are pinned on the giant Facebook IPO, coming out at an expected 100 X earnings and 30 X revenue. Its…Read More

Category: Investing, IPOs

FusionIQ’s Ritholtz on Facebook IPO, U.S. Economy

Barry Ritholtz, chief executive officer at FusionIQ, talks about Facebook Inc.’s initial public offering and U.S. weekly jobless claims. Ritholtz speaks with Betty Liu and Dominic Chu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.”

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -

Category: IPOs, Media, Video

Facebook IPO by the Numbers

From Statista via Mashable: (some of those Statista numbers are wrong. Facebook 2011 revenue was $3.7B, not $4.2. ad revenue $3.2B, not $3.8B)


click for the rest of the graphic

full graphic after the jump

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Category: Digital Media, IPOs, Web/Tech

Facebook Valuation Formula

From the always clever Limericks Économiques: Facebook is valued at plenty By Wall Street’s high-tech cognoscenti, Based on 1 billion friends Times $5 each, then Times the IPO multiple, 20. Delightful!

Category: Humor, IPOs

Great question from WSJ’s DealJournal: > Do you spend more or less time on Facebook now than you did a year ago?

Category: IPOs, Web/Tech

Questions for Facebook IPO Investors

Last year (January 12th, 2011) I posed 5 Questions for Facebook Investors into the then private company Facebook: 1. Facebook (FB) claims 500 million subscribers. How many of these are active users — at least once or twice per week? How many of these are dead accounts, with no activity for 30 days? 90 days…Read More

Category: IPOs, Venture Capital, Web/Tech

Morgan Stanley to Lead Facebook IPO ?

Category: IPOs, Video