Facebook's messy IPO and the fallout over the following week have left many looking for someone to blame, and apparently inside Morgan Stanley it's falling on one of their star investment bankers, Michael Grimes.
The Wall Street Journal ran a mini-profile of Grimes, who is the co-head of global technology banking at Morgan Stanley. His chummy relationship with Facebook financial chief David Ebersman is being looked at for maybe being part of the cause of the Facebook IPO flop. The two worked closely leading up to the IPO, and Ebersman "relied on Mr. Grimes for advice during the IPO process." Grimes is believed to have "counseled" Ebersman on the decision to raise the stock price to $38 and to increase the number of shares being released before the IPO. A higher price and more shares means more money to be made, right? But now that everything's gone downhill (Facebook's stock has fallen 16 percent since its IPO), Grimes is taking some heat. Something he's not very used to.
Grimes has been working with tech companies since the mid-nineties. He's got an extensive resume of tech IPOs he's helped work on, and a laundry list of "Top in Tech" magazine awards. The New York Times' Dealbook called Grimes "Where Tech and Money Meet" in this profile from early May.
Grimes is known for his aggressive style when courting his clients. He lives in Hillsborough, California, and is a familiar with the "clubby world of Silicon Valley." He has a reputation for walking to a client's house and knocking on their door to pitch his services. A colleague told the Journal that, "If [Grimes] wants a piece of business, he will badger you for it." He also apparently wasn't initially the person in charge of Facebook's IPO, but when Morgan Stanley was chosen to lead the IPO he took over the account.
His mostly sterling reputation isn't protecting him this time, though. A note from Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Brad Hintz told clients that Grimes and other bankers at Morgan Stanley "will have to explain what happened," with the Facebook IPO, but that the "actual impact on the firm will be modest." It's a toothless threat, sure, but it's still holding Grimes accountable for his greed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.