The document is divided into four sections, each one a learning experience in its own right. Readers can jump to each chapter depending on what it is they are looking for. Even as an experienced investor, I read the book cover to cover, and not only did I learn some things about Facebook, but it also refreshed my memory about past manias.
If you are novice investor, Part I will be of great importance to you. Not only does it give a brief history of Internet IPOs beginning with Netscape, but it also discusses technical terms associated with the process: road show, primary offering, and most importantly, secondary offering. There's a trade-off when jumping in on first day of trading, and the author highlights the pros and cons of investing at this juncture. She points out that many companies that were supposed to put your portfolio in a higher orbit ended up being flameouts.
Part II could be dubbed: 'Everything you wanted to know about Facebook, but were afraid to ask'. It delves into the Facebook culture, what their mission is, the possible backlash of having too much information about you and their collision course with Google (GOOG). Here is an excerpt from the text: "Google remains a formidable competitor. It may have the whiff of an underdog but it’s bearing its teeth. It, too, is entering the world of social gaming. And it is charging just 5% fees versus 30% over at Facebook for the use of its platform.".
There is a lot of discussion about Google, which I found extremely informative, not so much about Google and Facebook, but just about the entire Internet sector as a whole. The Big Brother aspect to Facebook, as they mine your digital footprints for prospective advertising dollars, was equally as fascinating. Their lifeblood is peer-to-peer social networking, but let's face it, you're not valued as a $100 billion company without some sort of financial incentive as altruistic as they may seem.
The third section of The Facebook IPO Primer gets down and dirty with the econometrics of the company from the S-1 statement. Here are some bullet points I found helpful:
- Revenues in 2011 topped $3.7 billion, up 88% from 2010, but not as torrid as the 154% gain posted in 2010.
- Net income in 2011 was a cool $1 billion, up 65% from 2010; net income grew more than twice as fast, by 164%, in 2010.
- Earnings per share rose to 52 cents in 2011, up from 34 cents in 2010 and 12 cents in 2009.
- Facebook is a lean machine: costs and expenses were nearly $1.8 billion, just 47% of revenues.
- The company has an incredible war chest of cash - nearly $4 billion.
The Navy Seals motto is, "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.". If you are interested in investing in Facebook, or any IPO, it's always best to do your homework before you go overboard. This e-book doesn't pull any punches, and succinctly boils down the entire Facebook investment story in 42 pages. The Facebook IPO Primer currently is on sale on Amazon (AMZN) for under $4. It's a great tool for investors of all stripes. I am very happy I read this, and has a prominent place in my digital library. It's a keeper.