All Eyes on Facebook's Stock Monday After a Fascinating IPO

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After a weird IPO, no one knows exactly what's going to happen with the social media's shares on its first full day of trading.

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Just when you thought absolutely nothing interesting could happen on Friday, when Facebook debuted on NASDAQ, something did: the company's bankers really did set the price of the offering as high as the market would bear. That is to say, when the shares made it out to the open market, they didn't immediately spike as has happened with so many other tech IPOs like LinkedIn's last year. Some have argued that's a good thing, others that it wasn't.

Regardless, as Friday's trading drew to a close, Facebook's underwriters (namely, Morgan Stanley and the consortium of banks the company put together) propped up Facebook's share price at $38. They just would not let the company's share price fall below where they priced it. If you want to see a detailed blow-by-blow of how it worked, check out this rather stunning video recap. Meanwhile, other social media companies' shares tanked for reasons that are not quite clear.

In any case, no one expects those underwriters to keep up that kind of buying. So, Facebook will have to stand on its own. The big surprise, it seems, was that Regular Joe investors seemed unimpressed with the company's offering. Most industry watchers expected the stock to pop because they figured retail investors would herd into the shares. For whatever reason, those regular people didn't on Friday. Now everyone is waiting for the opening bell to find out if they will be more interested now that the hype of the IPO is over. I know better than to offer a prediction.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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