Instead, what they delivered was a shafting of the retail investor to the benefit of their best customers; the venture capitalists, prime brokers and inside institutions. They did it through secret information shared only among the insiders. They did it by increasing the offering price to $38 from an initial target of $28 to $31. They did it by increasing the number of shares by 25% only days before the offering and increasing it yet again by opting to use a 63-million-share "greenshoe."
The financial media shares the blame by hyping the offering to the sky. The Nasdaq added to the disaster by postponing the initial time of the start of trading to allow institutional orders to be "restaged" while retail orders remained in place and by not delivering prices on executed trades to retail customers, sometimes for days after the initial start of trading.
The upshot is hundreds of millions of dollars lost by the retail investor, as the initial price of $38 was breached on the second day of trading and has since plummeted 18% in a week.
The irony of this is sad but also perfect -- here we have the company of the proletariat coming to Wall Street, and instead of helping to restore their reputation, reinforced the investing public's suspicions of who Wall Street is really working to help.
What a shame. The retail investor will again go back to his bonds and his savings accounts, even though a stuffed mattress will never allow a hard-middle-class investor to put his kids through school and maybe retire with a bit of financial comfort. He needs the stock market as much as Wall Street needs him.
And there was an opportunity to begin to repair that tarnished and trammeled relationship last week in the Facebook IPO. But Wall Street blew it.