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Facebook Watches Stocks Tank As It Speeds Up Instagram Payout

Meeting expectations of a stock price fall, once its early investors could sell their shares in the market, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s stock is again bleeding on Thursday. In early trading, shares dropped more than 6 percent, hitting $19.69.

Facebook Watches Stocks Tank As It Speeds Up Instagram Payout

This represented a low point since entering the public markets on May 18, and almost a 50 percent fall from its $38 offering price.

Almost since Day 1 of the company’s IPO, it’s had a black cloud over its head, thanks to Nasdaq’s technical problems, slow sales growth, and problems with mobile advertising–just to name a few. It may continue to linger as the two billion shares that can now be sold on the market, will continue through May.

On Thursday, the flood gates opened slowly as 271 million shares were allowed to be sold. This morning at ValueWalk we wrote about the possible early investors cashing out. They include Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), Accel Partners and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Whether they would sell shares on Thursday remains to be seen, and companies who know this could happen from insiders, hope to somehow compel them not to do so, reported the New York Times, as they try to avoid saturating the market with excess shares. From this “lockout period” it can diminish the stock’s value, and for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), this comes at a bad time as their shares continue to fall.

Sensing good times may not be ahead, the Financial Times is reporting that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is trying to speed up the payout of its Instagram acquisition, prior to the deal’s close, by utilizing an arcane California law to issue stock, but not registering it with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Why do this? The action will save the company both time and money, while it issues shares, which once had a $700 million value, to Instagram’s  employees, and investors in the photo-sharing application. These shares have also taken a hit, and now sit with a value of $487 million, thanks to Facebook’s stock price falling 44 percent since it started trading three months ago.

Furthermore,  by going through California, as opposed to the federal government, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could protect the deal from additional criticisms after its messy IPO.

Brian Quinn, a professor of law at Boston College said via Financial Times, “They have other issues with investors. This takes all the Instagram issues and puts it in a box. It’s a cleaner process given everything else that is going on.”

To speed up the payout, on August 29, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has scheduled a “fairness hearing” with the California Department of Corporations.

Don’t expect this to dodge the watchful eyes of investors and the government.


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