Facebook Investors Brace for Big Round of Unlocked Shares
(Bloomberg) Facebook Inc. (FB) investors, already grappling with concerns about the company’s growth prospects, are bracing for the biggest increase in the number of shares free for trading since the company went public in May.
Restrictions lift today on 804 million shares held by former employees and those who sold at the initial public offering, almost doubling the total available for trading, according to a regulatory filing. The bans on sales are put in place to prevent shares from flooding the market immediately after an initial public offering. Restrictions lifted on smaller numbers of shares in August and October.
Facebook, operator of the world’s most popular social- networking service, has lost about half its value since going public as the number of shares rose and investors fretted about the company’s ability to boost mobile-advertising sales.
“It has been and will be important to investors without a doubt,” said Scott Kessler, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ, who has a hold rating on the stock and doesn’t own it. “This is obviously something that people have been thinking about and concerned about.” ........(more)