Facebook on Monday held a meeting for investors at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park. Facebook CFO David Ebersman led the meeting along with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Facebook Vice President and General Counsel Theodore Ullyot, Facebook Vice President of Engineering Mike Schroepfer, and Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox were also reportedly present. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, however, was not. Wall Street isn't pleased.
Zuckerberg prefers to focus his time on developing the service rather than discussing the company's $5 billion initial public offering (IPO) with analysts. Facebook reportedly plans to hold an additional briefing for analysts and bankers next month to discuss in-depth financial information. Zuckerberg probably won't show up for April's meeting either, and investors are getting frustrated.
"We don't think that he should be hiding from the investors," Carin Zelenko, the director of the capital strategies department for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, told Reuters. "He wants investors to put their money behind him, with the confidence in him personally, as the person who built this company and who's going to lead it and control it. He should be accountable to those people who are investing."
"Investors are crazy to want to get in bed with a company where the guy who controls it doesn't even pretend to care about the rest of the shareholders," Greg Taxin of activist investment firm Spotlight Advisors told Reuters after saying he won't be buying shares. "That seems like a recipe for disaster. The risk is that a controlling shareholder so believes in his own vision and control that he's going to be unwilling to take input from shareholders, or anyone else, or be much concerned about their well-being."
Frankly, I disagree with the investors. Sure, they should have time to speak with Zuckerberg, but he really doesn't have to attend every analyst meeting. His time is better spent improving and growing the actual service that will make them rich. As I've said before, he will likely end up playing some sort of role in selling the company's shares to investors, but sitting in on meetings, during which he would be twiddling his thumbs for the majority of the time, is pointless.
At least some on Wall Street agree. "I would always like access to the CEO, but the best use of his time is in running the company," Dan Niles, chief investment officer at AlphaOne Capital Partners, told Reuters. "I worry more about a CEO who seems to spend too much time talking to Wall Street and the media."
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