NYSE pitches listing to Facebook after IPO mess

23 May, 2012

Facebook Inc is considering a stock-listing proposal put forward by the New York Stock Exchange, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters, in the wake of a disappointing initial public offering last week on the rival Nasdaq bourse.

Facebook has exchanged phone calls and emails with NYSE Euronext and are considering their pitch, the source said without elaborating on specifics.

The exact details of the NYSE's pitch to Facebook could not immediately be learned. Bloomberg cited a source as saying the proposal involved Facebook switching its listing from the Nasdaq. But NYSE Euronext said it had held no such discussions with the company.

"There have been no discussions with Facebook regarding switching their listing in light of the events of the last week, nor do we think a discussion along those lines would be appropriate at this time," the US exchange said in a statement.

Facebook and the banks that took it public, including Morgan Stanley, face questions over a $16 billion IPO that culminated in a Nasdaq debut plagued by technical glitches. The debut, on May 18, was pushed back half an hour and later led to delays in order confirmations, frustrating traders.

Facebook's shares have fallen more than 15 per cent from their $38 IPO price to a close of $32 on Wednesday.

Tensions have arisen between Facebook and the Nasdaq - the preferred home for most technology companies - since the troubled Friday opening.

Analysts say the NYSE could take advantage of the botched coming-out party as it battles the tech-laden Nasdaq for high-profile IPOs.

Still, switching exchanges so soon after an IPO would be highly unusual, said Morningstar analyst Gaston Ceron. He noted that only a very small number of companies every year switch the exchanges that they are listed on.

"It would sound like a very unusual development if they were to switch so quickly, but then again this is an unusual IPO," said Ceron.

On Wednesday, shareholders filed a lawsuit against the No. 1 social network and its lead adviser, accusing them of hiding the company's weakened growth forecasts ahead of the IPO, which rivals General Motors as the second-largest US debut.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment. Nasdaq representatives were not immediately available.