Facebook shares hit new low

Facebook IPO drops
How low can you go?

Facebook's stock price reached a new low of $17.55 today before closing at $17.73 - a 53.34 percent drop since its $38 IPO in May. Before hitting this record low, Facebook shares began the day at $18.06.

One of the many reasons Facebook continues to be the worst-performing IPO since records began is the initial round of lockup expirations. Employees and insiders, once restricted from selling their stock, have had the green light to sell up to 271 million shares since Aug. 16.

Among the notable insiders to take advantage of this lockup expiration are Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and first outside investor Peter Thiel.

Moskovitz, who left the company in 2008, sold 450,000 of his shares to the tune of $8.8 million. He still owns 133 million Facebook shares.

Thiel meanwhile unloaded 20 million shares, earning almost $400 million from that trade and a total of $640 million since the Facebook IPO. Even with the stock price down more than half since its debut on the NASDAQ, Thiel made a healthy return on his $500,000 investment in the up-and-coming social media company.

More lockup expirations on Facebook stock

Facebook's stock could dip even lower, as there are three more of these lockup expirations to go and more than 1.5 billion shares that will move from restricted status to free-to-sell. BMO Financial Group did have a brighter outlook beyond that period, though.

"We expected investor attention to return to fundamentals after the technical challenges presented by lockup expirations over the next six months have been absorbed by the stock," said BMO's Daniel Salmon.

Those fundamentals include a clearer vision of Facebook's business strategy and adaptation to advertising on mobile platforms. Apps and mobile browsers are two of the ways Facebook's nearly one billion active users are increasingly accessing the site.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that the company is "focused on investing in our priorities of mobile, platform and social ads to help people have these experiences with their friends." In June, the new Sponsored Stories brought in $1 million each day, half of which came from mobile users.

Zuckerberg will make his first on-stage interview since May's IPO at TechCrunch Disrupt next Tuesday. We'll likely hear more about Facebook's troubled IPO and its mobile strategy then.

Via CNET, BusinessWeekly

Matt Swider