In the wake of the Facebook IPO fiasco, Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld beat his breast and told the Wall Street Journal along with other press Sunday that Nasdaq's "acknowledged design problems" bungled the social network's landmark lPO Friday.
Reporters were told on a conference call that problems with order cancellations interfered with Facebook's debut despite trial runs that didn't detect any problems with handling what was expected to be massive demand.
The Nasdaq even considered halting trading so it could sort out its Friday's foul-ups but didn't.
"This was not our finest hour," Greifeld reportedly said. The Nasdaq, he said, which fought to keep the IPO away from the New York Stock Exchange, is "humbly embarrassed."
Nasdaq's board met Saturday to consider what happened Friday when the sexy Facebook offering closed at $38.23, a mere 23 cents better than its IPO price, down from an open of $42.05 and a momentary high of $45.
There are now supposed to be changes.
The IPO suffered a half-hour delay - although that's not unusual - and then had technical glitches that upset traders and created confusion. Mutual funds and other institutions had to wait more than two hours after the stock opened at 11:30am New York time to find out whether their orders had been honored or canceled and at what price, a situation that reportedly caused big investors to bail out. Some of these orders were placed at 7:30am.
It was said Friday that the stock actually had to be propped up.
Fox News claims it heard that the Nasdaq may have to make good the $100 million in losses investors and traders say they suffered Friday because the exchange "essentially broke down and failed to execute buy and sell orders" for the stock at various times during the day.
Other people Fox talked to, who apparently expect Greifeld to be a "gentleman" and make them whole, say the number could go to $200 million.
Any legal obligations are unclear. Reputation risks are another thing. Needless to say Facebook is upset while the Big Board feels vindicated.
The New York Times says Greifeld isn't buying into responsibility for Facebook's "lackluster performance." It was the fault of the "number of order cancellations that came in during the final stages of the initial public offering process" and "backed up Nasdaq's systems" until two or, in some cases, after 2:30 in the afternoon.
"Nothing in Nasdaq's data indicated that the exchange's technical issues had any effect on Facebook's shares," the Times said.
Something like 310 million shares reportedly traded in one 90-minute period.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got married to his girlfriend Priscilla Chen Saturday in a backyard wedding that came as a surprise to the guests who thought they were at Zuckerberg's house in Palo Alto to celebrate Chen's graduation from med school according to the AP. No word on any prenup. They have been together since meeting at Harvard nine or 10 years ago.