Zuckerberg a no-show at pre-IPO analyst meeting

Mark Zuckerberg may have completed the ultimate power play in nabbing a majority of Facebook’s voting rights, but the youthful chief executive would apparently prefer to take a back seat as his social networking company courts analysts and investors on the road to a public offering.

Zuckerberg skipped a three-hour meeting with analysts and bankers at Facebook’s headquarters on Monday and plans to be mostly hands-off in the selling process, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Facebook COO and company front-woman Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman led the meeting.

“In response to a question about his absence … Ebersman said Mr. Zuckerberg preferred to focus his time on developing the service rather than play a role with such analysts,” according to the Journal.

Altimeter Group founder and partner Charlene Li thinks Zuckerberg’s absence from the meeting was a move designed to set expectations early on. Traditional analysts may be put off by the no-show, she told VentureBeat, but they will get over the snub, “as long as Zuck is available to discuss the overall vision and direction of the firm at appropriate points.”

Facebook filed to become a public company on February 1, 2012. The social network, which made $3.7 billion in 2011, will raise at least $5 billion in a May offering with a valuation between $75 and $100 billion. The company is also said to be paying its IPO underwriters a below-average 1.1 percent fee.

Since its initial filing, Facebook has amended its prospectus, secured several billion dollars in additional credit, reconfigured its advertising products to reduce its mobile risk, and is now busy fighting off a patent suit from one-time Valley pal Yahoo.

And while Zuckerberg snubbed analysts, the CEO may still play some part in the larger roadshow when the company travels and presents to fund managers and potential buyers, but executives are undecided on his exact role, a source told the Journal.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Photo credit: John Adams/Flickr


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