It’s crazy when you think about all of the speculation regarding Facebook’s stock
which is likely still a few weeks away (reports are that the the IPO will happen May 17). Can you only imagine what it will be like when it does start trading. The company continues to be in the news and while I continue to believe that it is trading at a very attractive valuation (of course, that could change by the time the IPO is done).
Facebook Acquires Instagram For $1B
This acquisition made a lot of heads spin. There are many reasons of course. Many saw Instagram as a very simple company started less than 2 years ago which had been looking for a valuation for half of that amount days before selling to Facebook
. All of that is true. Did Facebook end up overpaying for Instagram
? I personally do not think so. There are very few social services that have true appeal, strong growth and potential to become competitors to Facebook. Twitter, Linked and Google+ are probably the strongest contenders with others such as Instagram and Pinterest also in contention. Tons of potential buyers would love to acquire these firms and that makes acquiring them very expensive.
It’s difficult to know if this is an offensive or defensive move by Facebook. Both are certainly possible and I personally think it might be a bit of both. Let me say this. If Facebook wanted to spend $1B to acquire a growing competition in the photo sharing space, I can very much respect that decision. Especially given the possibility of seeing Instagram evolve into a different kind of social network. Since photos are core to Facebook, acquiring Instagram could potentially make sense.
The Larger Issue (Mark Zuckerberg)
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the acquisition, especially about the timing of it, weeks before the IPO. I think these people are missing the point here. Mark Zuckbergerg owns about 30% of the shares but more importantly, he controls over 50% of the voting shares in the company. Even after the IPO, HE will be the guy in charge, not shareholders. Anyone who is seriously considering buying shares of Facebook anytime soon should be 100% certain that they are comfortable with the idea. I know that I am. But this does change things quite a bit. Facebook will continue to be focused on its long term mission, on its hacker mentality, etc. If you remember Google’s “Do No Evil” proverb, you can understand that it quickly faded as Google became much more like any other public company, focused both on long term but also quarterly earnings and targets.
That certainly raises a lot of questions for anyone involved. Many of the future earning possibilities that I see for Facebook are things that the company does not seem to spend any time considering right now. Will that change? It really is not clear. And that IS scary.
There is no doubt, there remains a lot of questions regarding Facebook but I am still very much excited about buying some of its stock once it turns public! Am I the only on here who feels that way?
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on Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 5:00 am and is filed under Stock Opinions.
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