Before you start scrambling to get a piece of the Facebook pie, it’s worth looking at a few glaring risk factors.
Reason #1: Someone who knows a lot more than I do is selling. While the identities of the specific sellers remain unknown, the current consensus seems to be that most will be from venture capital investors like Accel Partners, Peter Thiel, and Greylock Partners. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg will kick in $50 million or so himself, just for some fooling around money.
Reason #2: Goldman Sachs. I’ve got nothing against Goldman Sachs. Hell, I worked there. But when Reuters’ Felix Salmon says that the Goldman investment “ratifies” a $50 billion valuation, he’s only half right. That is, someone, somewhere—perhaps the Russians at DST Global—might just believe this imaginary number.
Reason #3: Zynga. For all the success of the largely-Facebook-hosted games of Farmville and Cityville, it’s hard not to wonder what the success of the anachronistic game maker Zynga really means. Do people really miss their Atari that much? I doubt there’s any crossover between the people playing Farmville and those playing the technologically advanced Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Reason #4: The niggling details. Important question: Just what are Facebook’s numbers? Important answer: Who the hell knows? In November, Zuckerberg told the world not to hold its breath for an IPO. No worries, Mark, because I’m not. Google (GOOG), if you recall, was pretty open by the end of its life as a private company – everybody knew what it was doing and how it was doing it.
Reason #5: Warren Buffett. The legendary investor cautions those looking at outsize valuations to consider one’s purchase of company stock in a different way than price of an individual share, whatever it may be.
Warren Buffett-Anything this man says, I believe to be the gospel! Words cannot express how much I admire this man.