Photo: CNBC screenshot
It’s been about three weeks since the Facebook IPO debacle on the Nasdaq, which was plagued by delays and glitches. So far the total tab of losses being claimed by customers from trading shares of Facebook on Nasdaq is around $500 million. UBS alone claimed that it lost $350 million.
Now The Wall Street Journal is out with a detailed behind the scenes report of what happened during the social network’s highly-anticipated debut as a publicly traded company.
Basically, the Nasdaq’s CEO Bob Greifeld was cut off from all communication for about five hours during the trading day.
Here’s what happened.
On May 18th, Nasdaq’s Greifeld was seen wearing a grey t-shirt fist pumping next to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the opening bell ceremony, which took place remotely at the social network’s Melno Park, California headquarters.
That was at 9:30 ET (or 6:30 in Silicon Valley) and Facebook wasn’t due to start trading on the Nasdaq until 11 a.m. ET that morning.
After the opening bell ceremony, the hints of trouble started. Nasdaq experienced an influx of order cancellations in Facebook shares jamming up the system causing trading to be pushed back until 11:30 ET, according to the WSJ report.
Greifeld told The Journal that he thought he would be more useful if he was back at his office in New York so he decided to head to the airport. He told the newspaper that once he got through airport security trading seemed to be going smoothly.
At around 12:14 ET, Greifeld boarded a United flight from San Francisco to Newark, NJ missing the intra-day trading mess.
While flying in business class, Greifeld could not be reached for about five hours because he had an armrest phone that didn’t work and no Internet access during the flight, according to the WSJ’s report.
Greifeld even missed a telephone call to his office in New York at the end of the trading day from SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. He did return her call later that afternoon when he landed.
SEC officials plan on going through Nasdaq executives phone calls and emails from the Facebook IPO, sources told the Wall Street Journal.