4. Facebook Foolishness
What in the name of Elvis Presley is happening on Wall Street? We thought Henry Blodget already left the building!
Facebook isn't expected to go public until next week and already a handful of Wall Street analysts are out touting its stock. Among those jumping the gun by officially initiating coverage on the social networking giant in the past week are Michael Pachter at Wedbush Morgan and Arvind Bhatia over at Sterne Agee.Both research pieces, to nobody's surprise, were sweet on Mark Zuckerberg's yet-to-be-hatched baby. (By the way, did you see the Facebook CEO sporting a hoodie on the company's road show? Get a suit Zuck! You can afford it.) Pachter rates the stock, which will trade under the ticker FB, at outperform with a $44 one-year price target. Bhatia, on the other hand, one-ups Pachter with a buy rating and a one-year target of $46 and a two-year target of $59. Come on guys, we know the shares are already trading on the SecondMarket and a few other sundry places where bit-chompers swap paper, but chill out would you? Did you not see what happened when BATS Global Markets tried and failed to go public in March? We're not saying things will go batty for Facebook as they did for BATS, but things can and do go wrong. So why tempt fate and jeopardize your reputations for the sake of grabbing a few headlines? Do you not remember what happened to Henry Blodget, Jack Grubman and the other glory-seeking analysts during the last tech bubble? Has it been that long? If not, then maybe you should Google (GOOG) it. (Just a hint, it didn't turn out well.) And speaking of Google, it's worth a quick mention that the search giant -- and Facebook nemesis -- had profits of approximately $10 billion on $40 billion in sales in 2011. Facebook, on the other hand, earned around $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenue last year. Google, which went public in 2004, currently sports a market cap of $200 billion and has since expanded into things like Android and other people's patents. Meanwhile, Facebook, which is still figuring out its revenue model, is expected to be valued around $100 billion at the high end of its IPO range. In other words, it took the very savvy guys at Google eight years as a public company to reach its current size, and, according to Bhatia and his buddies, Facebook will get there in about two. Talk about putting the hoodie before the horse.
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