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Forget About Facebook Until After Lockup: Analyst

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Joel Saget | AFP | Getty Images
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Their earnings were good but not great, about 83 million users are fakes, and the social network's share price has been nearly halved since it's $38 IPO.

Blindsided by this laundry-list of woes, Facebook's investors are now wondering what to make of its prospects — especially given that no financial projections were offered in the company's first earnings announcement.


But Ken Sena, analyst for Evercore Partners says Facebook's value will get much clearer after the company's lockup period expires.

Currently major shareholders who owned Facebook stock before it went public are restricted from selling. As of August 16th, when the first lockup period ends, many of them will have the option to sell.

"Investors should wait to gauge value [until] after the lockup," Sena told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” The sheer amounts to be "un-locked," he noted, will surely get investors' attention.

"The number of shares that are outstanding currently floated is about $400 million. That number is going to increase to about $1.4 billion over the next two months," said Ken Sena, analyst for Evercore Partners.

Some fear additional supply will drive down prices. On the other hand, if there isn't a selling glut, more shareholder commitment will be seen as positive.

In any case, Sena says buying Facebook at $20 is "risky." The analyst has a "hold" rating on the stock with a $34 price target — a far cry from Friday's price.

But Sena believes the company will follow through with a move to mobile, and even be able to monetize it.

"You're still talking about close to a billion Facebook users, and there's still a tremenodous amount of value surrounding intangibles," he said.

As for the question of Facebook's nearly 83 million fake users , a.k.a. 'the bots,' Sena simply considers that a non-issue.

"The challenge is to drive higher use among real users, as well as better monetization. That's enough even without the bots."

By Friday afternoon, some investors seemed to agree — driving Facebook's share price up over 8 percent.


—By CNBC.com’s Jennifer Leigh Parker

Additional News: Facebook Hosts Millions of Fake Users
Additional Views: Facebook is 'Attractive' at $20: Blodget
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CNBC Data Pages:

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Disclosures:

Ken Sena does not personally own Facebook shares. Evercore Partners or an affiliate beneficially owns 1% or more of common equity securities of Facebook. Evercore or an affiliate has a client relationship with, or has received compensation from Facebook for investment banking services in the last 12 months.

Disclaimer
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Follow Jennifer Leigh Parker on Twitter @jparker741 .

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