As the Facebook IPO approaches valuations are expected to hover around $100 billion. This will be one of the biggest IPOs ever, and so competition is heating up over which Wall Street firm will will take the lead advisory role. Reuters opines:
“Two reasons I think Morgan Stanley will get the lead: one, they have a great retail distribution platform with the Smith Barney franchise and, two, I don’t think Facebook is overly happy with Goldman Sachs,” said Jeff Sica, president and CEO of SICA Wealth Management, who has bought shares of Facebook in private, pre-IPO markets for clients.
Morgan Stanley was the top bookrunner for global high-tech IPOs last year, with $2.2 billion in global proceeds and 10.9 percent market share. It also led the pack in U.S. high-tech IPOs, according to Thomson Reuters data. Goldman Sachs was the runner up with $1.9 billion in global fees and 9.2 percent market share, and ranked No. 3 in U.S. high-tech IPOs behind JPMorgan Chase & Co.
A less measurable but equally important factor in obtaining the lead IPO position is whether bankers can connect with decision-makers at Facebook on a personal level.
“It’s really going to be the banker that understands and is sensitive to Zuckerberg and the executive team’s needs,” said Dun & Bradstreet’s Simmons. “Whoever does that successfully will get the bragging rights, the proverbial brass ring of tech IPOs.”