Investing

Cramer calls IPO pricing ‘broken’ and ‘embarrassing’ after Airbnb, DoorDash debuts skyrocket

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Key Points
  • CNBC's Jim Cramer criticized investment banks for their handling of recent IPOs from Airbnb and DoorDash.
  • Both companies saw massive jumps in their stock prices during their first days of trading.
  • "I don't want to say that the market is broken, but the process of how we're doing these deals is definitely broken," Cramer said.
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Cramer: We have a 'broken' IPO pricing system

CNBC's Jim Cramer on Friday sharply criticized how investment bankers handled the recent initial public offerings for companies such as DoorDash and Airbnb, two tech companies that saw major pops in their stocks after they began trading this week.

"I don't want to say that the market is broken, but the process of how we're doing these deals is definitely broken," Cramer said on "Squawk Box."

Food delivery app DoorDash closed higher by more than 85% in its market debut Wednesday, while home rental company Airbnb ended its first day of trading on Thursday up more than 112%.

Those massive first-day moves, which left so much money on the table, are not the fault of the companies, Cramer said. Instead, he said it was "embarrassing" work being done by the financial firms that work on the IPOs. "They ought to start focusing on how to do it better."

While big market debuts are great for shareholders, they're not so great for the companies. Case in point, Airbnb, which could have raised over double the money on its IPO, priced shares at $68 each for a $3.5 billion haul. For DoorDash, pricing its IPO at $102 per share raised $3.37 billion. Had the company priced the shares where they closed on their first day, that raise could have been more than $6 billion.

Cramer said the recent price action reminds him of the dot-com boom in 1999, when there was similar levels of interest from retail investors in soon-to-be public companies.

"This is what happened in 1999 where the syndicate desks completely misjudged the public, and the public is back and they're pricing deals as if the public isn't back and it's just the same old, same old funds buying stock," the "Mad Money" host said.

"This new cohort — and it's not just Robinhood but it's the public — has not been factored in so everybody keeps blowing it," Cramer added, referring to the stock trading app that's favored by younger investors.

On Wednesday, before DoorDash started to trade, Cramer said he believed there was "rabid money" chasing technology companies, particularly from the younger investors who frequently use their services.

"I think there's money that basically says, 'We don't really care what that opening price is going to be,'" Cramer said then. "There's not going to be a lot of discipline in a lot of these market buyers. They're not going to put a price limit on it." 

There was, in fact, notable millennial interest in DoorDash and Airbnb on their first days of trading, according to TD Ameritrade's chief strategist, JJ Kinahan. In a "Squawk Box" interview Friday, Kinahan said about 41% of DoorDash's trades on his brokerage's platform were from millennial clients while for Airbnb it was about 45%.