Facebook reveals revenue, profit slide ahead of IPO

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:40pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic and Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc reported its first quarter-to-quarter revenue slide in at least two years, a sign that the social network's sizzling growth may be cooling as it prepares to go public in the biggest ever Internet IPO.

The company blamed the first-quarter decline, which surprised some on Wall Street, on seasonal advertising trends.

"It was a faster slowdown than we would have guessed," said Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group.

"No matter how you slice it, for a company that is perceived as growing so rapidly, to slow so much on whatever basis - sequentially or annually - it will be somewhat concerning to investors if faced with a lofty valuation," Wieser said.

Facebook is preparing to raise at least $5 billion in an initial public offering that could value the world's largest social network at up to $100 billion.

"The biggest issue is the realization that Facebook is not going to have an easy time meeting high expectations of the public market," said Jeff Sica, chief investment officer of SICA Wealth Management, which manages more than $1 billion in client assets, real estate and private equity holdings. "It will affect how people look at the IPO."

Investors are still likely to sign up in droves for the IPO; However, growth concerns may make some investors less likely to keep the stock over the long term, he added.

"I'm still encouraging people to participate in the IPO, under the acknowledgement that it could be a bumpy ride," Sica said. "There are high expectations and I hate high expectations."   Continued...

 
Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox delivers a keynote address at Facebook's "fMC" global event for marketers in New York City in this February 29, 2012, file photo. Facebook Inc said its revenue declined sequentially in the first quarter, the weakest top-line performance by the world's largest social media network since at least 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)