With less than 24 hours before Facebook’s debut as a public company, four financial advisers gathered in a midtown restaurant to eat lunch and trade stories about investor appetite for shares of the social network.
“Every call I take involves Facebook,” one broker said.
“I’ve got this guy who wants to sell Apple and buy Facebook with the proceeds,” another said.
“Remember that video with the bear who wants to buy an iPhone 4? Won’t take anything else, even if it's better. My clients are like that bear:
‘I don’t care. I want to buy Facebook,’” said one of the brokers.
None of them could remember anything quite like this.
“It’s unprecedented,” said the first broker. (He wasn’t in the business during the golden days of the dot com IPOs of the late 1990s and early 2000.)
“Tomorrow is going to be the greatest Muppet Show on earth,” he added.
The firm they work for is not one of the underwriters on the deal, so they’ve had to deal with customers disappointed that they cannot provide IPO access.
“I was seriously afraid some of my guys would take their business to Morgan Stanley,” one of the brokers admitted. He said that that hasn’t happened.
Earlier in the day, a financial adviser from one of the largest brokerages in the country reported similar enthusiasm for Facebook from his clients. Warnings about the riskiness of the stock were falling on deaf ears, the broker said.