Wednesday, 29 May 2013

To say the Facebook IPO was a disaster might be a bit of an understatement. A few days after the social network went public, reports emerged that a technical issue prevented trading and many investors lost money as the stock’s value tanked. Those same investors brought lawsuits against the NASDAQ and the SEC launched an investigation into the IPO. That investigation has now come to an end.

The Hill reports that the NASDAQ stock exchange has agreed to pay the SEC a $10 million fine for its part in the botched Facebook IPO. It’s noted that the fine is the largest ever paid by an exchange.

In the official report from the SEC, the commission says that investors saw a delay of 19 minutes when trading opened. That delay caused 30,000 orders to be stuck for two hours. Sure, it’s annoying, but not scandal worthy.

What the SEC took issue with is how NASDAQ began accepting orders again after reportedly fixing its system, even as traders were still reporting issues. The commission says that the exchange initiated in trading without understanding the problem with its system, therefore violating many of its own rules. Doing so violates the Securities and Exchange Act.

“This action against NASDAQ tells the tale of how poorly designed systems and hasty decision-making not only disrupted one of the largest IPOs in history, but produced serious and pervasive violations of fundamental rules governing our markets,” said George Canellos, a co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division.

Most recently, Facebook itself became the target of another lawsuit in relation to its IPO in March. A shareholder accused the social network of sharing critical information about the business with key investors while leaving everybody else out of the loop.

Facebook’s stock is down 2.49 percent today on the news. It’s currently trading at $23.50.


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