Tuesday 21 October 2014

Facebook fall-off has domino effect on tech stocks

Peter Flanagan New Technology Correspondent

Published 28/11/2012 | 05:00

THE perceived failure of Facebook's flotation has hit fundraising efforts across the technology sector, as companies find investors are being much more careful with where they place their cash.

The location-based social network Four Square raised some $30m (€22.5m) earlier this year, valuing the company at around $760m.

Now, however, the company is said to be struggling to raise $50m while maintaining the price of the overall company.

Four Square's travails have been reflected throughout an industry that has been left dazed and confused by the fallout from the Facebook IPO, which saw the company's share price fall by half since it listed in May, before recovering in recent weeks.

Yesterday Facebook shares were trading at $25.83 – about a third lower than the $38 it went public at.

As one of the biggest IPOs in history, Facebook was seen as the poster boy for the latest technology boom.

Sentiment

A number of companies, such as Zynga and LinkedIn, went public before Mark Zuckerberg's company, and lapped up the positive sentiment that surrounded the sector at the time.

LinkedIn – a professional social network – was a particular success. The shares more than doubled on opening 18 months ago, and have stayed over $100 since.

There has been a fall-off in the months since Facebook's flotation, however, with the shares down just over 2pc since that time.

LinkedIn has been a huge success compared with Zynga. Shares in the company, which has a stable of games played on the Facebook platform, such as Farmville, peaked at $14 a share last year. By May, the decline was already profound, with the stock trading at a little more than $8.

The collapse is nearly complete, however, with shares now valued at a little more than $2.40.

The problems have also had a knock-on effect with Twitter. The darling of media types and celebrities the world over, Twitter was valued at as much as $10bn in May but that has since dropped by 26pc to $7.6bn.

The company has become the "next big thing" in the world of IPOs, with the market waiting on tenterhooks for company chief executive Dick Costolo to confirm when the microblogging site would seek a listing. Stock in the company is currently traded on the secondary market, much as Facebook had been. Plans for an IPO are now believed to have been shelved until next year at the very earliest, however.

Irish Independent

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