Do you remember when buying into Facebook's IPO was like signing your name on the "To:" line of a gigantic check?
Of course not. But apparently, some people do and they're angry about it -- so angry that they've filed a lawsuit.
In fact, they've spun up a vast conspiracy theory of hand-wringing Facebook insiders purposely hiding information from the public.
Because how else could Wall Street bankers have made mistakes?
The Facebook IPO had been anxiously anticipated for years. Investors saw it as a gold mine of untapped advertising potential and unending personal information.
In 2011 alone Facebook made $3.7 billion in revenue, but Facebook's true value wasn't in how much it made -- it was in how much it was projected to make.
Somehow conservative value estimations went out the window.
When asked, "how much?" speculators merely got misty-eyed, stretched out their arms and went, "THIS much."
Reality sets in
Not surprisingly, just before the IPO most of the underwriters reduced their earnings outlooks for Facebook.
The result, coupled with some well-timed General Motors shenanigans, was that Facebook's stock price dropped from $38 to below $30 in less than a week.
$20 billion in market capitalization was lost. It was an inside conspiracy to short-sell stocks, people said.
And it's not like anyone could have seen this coming.
Oh, right: except nearly everybody saw it coming. A week prior to Facebook's IPO, Bloomberg news reported that 79% of investors felt that Facebook was overvalued at $100 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg sought a valuation at 24 times revenue.
To put that into perspective: Google, one the internet's most profitable companies, only sought a valuation at 5 times revenue.
It's like Google said, "I can throw this rock 30 meters," and Facebook responded, "I can make the ball break the sound barrier with my mind."
So it wasn't so much a conspiracy as it was gross incompetence.
And it has benefited no one.
Look, you can invest against common sense, but don't try to protect your ego with conspiracy theories when things go sour.
To be fair to those who feel cheated, Morgan Stanley did handle the pricing of Facebook's IPO with all the grace of a father selecting a vegetable to teach his daughter about certain intimate precautions.
"Should I be conservative and select something a bit on the small side? Yes, better not get her expectations up. But does that say about me? Mmm, better go with something bigger. Play it off like it's normal." Holy crap that's your daughter! What's wrong with you?
In other words, Morgan Stanley got your daughter pregnant. It's their fault. And they owe you money.
Makes about as much sense as anything else.