May 25, 2012
Bernstein Liebhard LLP partner Stanley D. Bernstein was interviewed by Thomson Reuters News & Insight concerning recent securities class action lawsuits filed against Facebook Inc. (“Facebook” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FB) in connection with the Company’s initial public offering (“IPO”). The Facebook lawsuits allege that Facebook and its underwriters, Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Barclays Capital Inc., disclosed non-public information concerning the Company’s weakened growth forecasts to select institutional investors, enabling these favored investors to sell their Facebook shares for a profit while the stock price rose immediately after the IPO.
As former chair of the executive committee of the In re Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation (“IPO Litigation”), a consolidated securities class action involving over 300 companies that held IPOs from 1998 through 2000 and the 55 investment banks that underwrote the IPOs, Mr. Bernstein has seen his fair share of IPO-related fraud. The IPO Litigation, which involved allegations that the IPO prices were artificially inflated during the dot-com era, settled for $586 million after eight years of litigation. Although the alleged fraudulent conduct in the IPO Litigation was slightly different than that alleged in the Facebook lawsuits, Mr. Bernstein noted “this is just another spin on the same game of unfair treatment of individual investors.”
Facebook commenced its $16 billion IPO on May 18, 2012 at $38.00 per share. On May 22, 2012, Facebook shares closed at $31.00, significantly lower than the IPO price. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) have announced plans to investigate issues relating to the Facebook IPO.
According to Mr. Bernstein, “the banks and Wall Street have not learned their lesson.” While the IPO Litigation essentially put an end to some IPO-related abuses, Facebook investors still “lost 10 percent of their investment in a matter of hours. A very significant loss that will not be ignored.”
Bernstein Liebhard LLP has pursued hundreds of securities, consumer and shareholder rights cases and recovered over $3 billion for its clients. It has been named to The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Hot List” in each of the last nine years.