The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: May 25
5. Greifeld Loses Face
Good grief Greifeld! Get a grip man!
Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) CEO Robert Greifeld told a group of reporters Sunday that overall, the first day of trading in Facebook (FB) was "successful" despite the IPO being opened 25 minutes late on Friday due to technical glitches, as well as mass confusion over order confirmations. Shares of the social networking giant, which priced at $38 a share, closed Thursday at $33.03, 13% below the offer price.
Be real Bob. "Successful"? Not since Walt Disney's (DIS) John Carter have we seen such an awful opening. Not since North Korea lobbed a rocket into the Pacific have we witnessed a launch that bad. Not since the failed BATS IPO in March have we seen an exchange exhibit such incompetence.
Wait a second! On second thought, you probably missed that BATS IPO, because if you had witnessed that catastrophe then you surely would have been better prepared for Facebook's public debut, which was only the biggest tech IPO ever after all.
Of course it's understandable that Greifeld would try and find a pony somewhere in the massive pile of manure that was his exchange's performance. Seriously, what else can the guy say after a debacle like that? All the spin doctors in Washington D.C. couldn't put a positive twist on that spectacular flop.
Not that he didn't try.
Greifeld threw himself on the mercy of the press, confessing he was "humbly embarrassed" by the technical problems that fouled up what should have been not only Facebook's big day, but Nasdaq's as well considering the exchange battled ferociously to snatch the listing from the now-gloating NYSE Euronext(NYX) .
He explained that an unexpected swarm of order cancellations interfered with the process and that system tests ahead of the admittedly massive 400 million share offering failed to detect potential problems.
Greifeld also groveled to reporters that "this was not our finest hour" and "we're not happy with our performance" in addition to a host of other platitudes that won't mean squat when the lawsuits hit. And trust us, they are going to start hitting in a big way.