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Facebook reportedly chooses Nasdaq over NYSE

The head of research firm PrivCo says two unnamed sources close to the deal confirmed the selection. Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange had been competing for the listing.

April 06, 2012|By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook Inc. has found a home on Wall Street — Nasdaq will be listing the social networking giant's shares for its hotly anticipated stock market debut, according to Sam Hamadeh, chief executive of research firm PrivCo.

No official announcement was made Thursday by the company or the stock exchange. Hamadeh said he confirmed the information with two sources close to the deal that he declined to name.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq and its rival, the New York Stock Exchange, had waged a high-stakes competition to land the biggest technology initial public stock offering since Google Inc. went public in 2004.

Chief executives of both exchanges flew to Silicon Valley to pitch to Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who were taking the lead in the IPO. Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly not as involved in the selection process.

Facebook will trade under the ticker symbol FB, Hamadeh said.

"It's a huge win for Nasdaq," he said. "Several weeks ago they had been leaning toward NYSE and even filed for the IPO without specifying the exchange, which is uncommon. That's how neck and neck NYSE and Nasdaq were."

Facebook and NYSE representatives declined to comment Thursday. A Nasdaq spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Nasdaq's fees, marketing and expertise with technology companies won over Facebook, Hamadeh said. Nasdaq lists seven of the 10 biggest U.S. tech companies.

"I'm not surprised they are listing with the Nasdaq," said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of Destination Wealth Management. "I've always considered the New York Stock Exchange a long shot given the heavy concentration of technology names currently listed on Nasdaq."

Nasdaq, already home to Apple Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp., gets far more than fees by nabbing Facebook. Winning the battle for the social media company could give Nasdaq an edge as it pursues future sought-after tech listings, such as Twitter.

The NYSE, also known as the Big Board, has aggressively courted and won some big tech listings, such as LinkedIn Corp. and Pandora Media Inc.

Facebook halted trading of its shares on the secondary market last week as it prepared for the final push toward the IPO. Analysts have said that the IPO could value Facebook as high as $100 billion and raise as much as $10 billion.

jessica.guynn@latimes.com

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