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Facebook Rings the Bell on Third Largest IPO Ever

By Matt Gallagher, Red Herring

Albeit remotely, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rang the opening bell on NASDAQ as its IPO debuted on the stock exchange. In pure hacker fashion, the world’s youngest billionaire punched a remote control NASDAQ button from its offices in Palo Alto, following an all-night hackathon where Facebook employees tinkered on various side projects and played middle of the night street hockey in pure Silicon Valley fashion.

After accepting a ceremonial hoodie from NASDAQ officials, Zuckerberg rang the bell and pumped his fist into the air three times to the celebrating hooting of employees, and then promptly updated his status.

“I know this may seem like a big deal. But here’s the thing: our mission isn’t to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected,” Zuckerberg said in a short speech following the ringing of the bell that was broadcast on Bloomberg TV. “All of you out there have built the largest community in the history of the world. You’ve done amazing things that we never would have dreamed of and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to be doing as we go forward. So on this special day, on behalf of everyone at Facebook, I just want to say to all the people out there who use our products, thank you.”

Though Zuckerberg may have rang in the day for NASDAQ, Facebook’s trading was delayed for half an hour. Scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., the stock actually didn’t begin trading until half hour later, Mashable reported. A NASDAQ official declined comment on the delay. The Wall St. Journal reported that traders were having difficulty changing and canceling orders due to a high volume rush.

Facebook set the price on the high end at $38 of its expected $36 to $38 price the night before. Trading began at $42, but then quickly slipped to its opening price of $38. By mid-afternoon, it had climbed back to $41, before slipping back to $39. As of mid-day, the highs and lows ranged from $43.02 to $38. While analysts expected some market fluctuation, they didn’t expect the stock to pop, as LinkedIn did when its price jumped 109 percent on its opening day. Facebook’s only slight variation in price indicates the stock was priced efficiently without a lot of money left on the table.

No matter the closing price, Facebook is well poised to be the largest tech IPO ever, and the third largest in history, behind Visa’s raise of $19.7 billion and GM’s raise of $18.1, according to Forbes. Even at the low end of $38, Facebook is set to bring in $16 billion.

A crowdsourced bet on Twitter, meanwhile, is betting that Facebook will close at $54 with a $135.7 billion valuation.

While such a pile of money down is unlikely, Facebook’s stock price has had an effect on other IPO stocks. Shares in Zynga slipped 13 percent before trading was halted for nearly 40 minutes. The stock began trading again, though still down 5.7 percent for the day. Prices on Pandora, Yelp, and Zillow likewise dropped significantly.

However the day ends, it was certainly be worth the all night hackathon party. Zuckerberg stands to make just over a billion dollars. Accel Partners, the largest seller, will make more than $1.80 billion. Mark Pincus, Zynga’s co-founder, stands to make about $32 million. Also on the golden ticket is David Choe, the graffiti artist who painted Facebook’s original offices in exchange for stock that could now be worth $500 million.

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