Facebook tackles stock price complaints in first shareholder meeting

Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:14pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg faced a barrage of questions on Tuesday about the company's slumping stock price during the No. 1 social networking company's first shareholder meeting since its rocky initial public offering last May.

Zuckerberg, who has presided over a 37 percent decline in the stock since its debut at $38, said he believed Facebook was on the right path toward long-term success, even though he was disappointed with its performance on Wall Street.

Nothing "has made me really think that the fundamental strategy is wrong or that what we're building isn't valuable," the 29-year-old Facebook co-founder said at the event at a hotel in Millbrae, California.

In what Zuckerberg acknowledged had become a "theme" of the meeting, several Facebook shareholders complained during the question-and-answer session about how they had suffered from the stock's decline. They shared personal anecdotes about buying the stock with high hopes, and sought guidance on whether they might ever recoup their losses.

Facebook, with about 1.1 billion users, became the first U.S. company to debut on stock markets with a value of more than $100 billion. But aside from its first day of trading, its shares have never traded above their offering price.

The company has scrambled to address one of the main concerns weighing on the stock price, by developing mobile ads better suited to small smartphone screens that users increasingly use to access the service.

Mobile ads account for 30 percent of Facebook's ad revenue. But revenue growth remains sharply below that of two years ago, and the popularity of new mobile apps aimed at younger users has raised concerns that Facebook may risk losing its grip on consumers.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would continue to grow alongside newer, rival services.   Continued...

 
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg introduces a new feature called "Graph Search" during a media event at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith