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The Disgrace of a Stock Lifetime

And then along comes Facebook. Here's a big visible offering where, if there were any rationality or tradition of fairness on Wall Street, everyone should have been allowed to win.

Think about it. The insiders have a very low basis. They win even if the deal is priced at $20. The individuals who know it would love to get in there and feel like it is worth buying stocks again, It was up to the bankers and the execs at Facebook to figure out a price where everyone won, because believe me, it doesn't do any good for the deal to flop the way it did anyway.

And what do the bankers do? They succumb to greed and they favor the firm over the clients, and then at the last minute they favor the big clients over the smaller buyers by telling the bigger clients that, as the documents say, things aren't as good as we thought at Facebook.

Believe me, although you aren't supposed to differ from anything written about how the business is, you can certainly tell prospective buyers how the deal is shaping up. And from everything I am hearing, the word was, at the last minute, that it wasn't shaping up well at all, but too much ink had been spilled and too much pride had been shown to start walking the deal back.

The result was the disgrace of a stock lifetime, then compounded by Morgan Stanley basically saying shame on the buyers if they thought they could make a quick buck.

Shame on Morgan Stanley for saying that. Everybody in this business knows the game: Everyone is supposed to win on a deal, especially a popular deal where there can be winners, and Facebook was the apotheosis of this kind of deal.

Forget how horrid the Nasdaq was as it, too. It had gone too far to pull back at the last minute when it knew it had no control of the opening whatsoever, and its systems were way too backward to handle this influx, as amazing as that is, given how they paraded around like peacocks telling us how well it would go.

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