Facebook falls flat in public debut

By Barbara Ortutay

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 18 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

In Menlo Park, some mourned the one that got away. Venture capitalist Mark Siegel visited Facebook's headquarters to ponder. Like many of his fellow tech startup investors with offices a short drive from Facebook on Silicon Valley's famed Sand Hill Road, Siegel said he had chances to back Facebook early on but didn't.

He said at the time, when competing social networks like Friendster and MySpace still had clout, it wasn't clear that Facebook would come out on top.

"In hindsight, any price would have been a good price to pay," said Siegel, a managing director at Menlo Ventures.

There's still time. Bruno del Ama, the CEO of asset management firm Global X Funds, is waiting until Thursday, to get in on Facebook.

"On the first day you see a tremendous amount of volatility," he said. In three days, short-sellers will be able to sell the stock, he added, so by day five, investors should see more stability. Global X has a fund focused on social media stocks, and del Ama expects "significant growth" in the sector in the coming decade. Facebook, right now, is the crown jewel of the space. And it's likely here to stay, by virtue of its position.

"Once companies have built a network, it's really difficult to displace them," del Ama said, adding that while massive companies such as Google are trying to compete with Facebook — and may have better technology — "we care about where our friends are."

AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke in San Francisco, Associated Press Reporter Marcus Wohlsen in Menlo Park, AP Business Writers Bernard Condon, Pallavi Gogoi and Joseph Pisani in New York contributed to this story.

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