Boy, it just doesn’t suck to be Goldman Sachs.First, you win the financial crisis, taking the rest of Wall Street to the cleaners. Then you swat away the SEC’s big “fraud” allegation (weak) with a checkbook entry. And now you get to cash in six ways to Sunday on the hottest quasi-IPO of the decade — Facebook. And you get to thumb your nose at the SEC in the process!
How is Goldman killing it in the Facebook deal? Let us count the ways…
First, Goldman is reaping enormous fees by arranging private sales of Facebook stock to its mega-rich clients.
What are these fees? A 4% entry fee and a 5% exit fee (when the client sells the stock). On $1.5 billion of stock, that’s $135 million of fees. It’s more if Goldman persuades Facebook to increase the size of the deal, which it’s trying to do. And if Facebook’s stock, say, doubles in the next year or two, it’s vastly more.
(Goldman may also collect a private-placement fee from FACEBOOK, which could be in the 2%-4% range. So that could add another $50 million of fees).
Second, Goldman locks up Facebook’s ACTUAL IPO (the one in which all those Joe Schmo non-Goldman clients will pile in and make all the Goldman clients richer), as well as the personal wealth management services for all the Facebook billionaires. These will eventually produce WAY MORE than $135 million in fees.
Third, Goldman’s partners get to invest their own money in Facebook stock in this deal without the $2 million minimum investment restriction that Goldman’s schmo clients have to worry about. Goldman’s partners can just dip their toes in the Facebook water and go along for the ride.
Fourth, Goldman has figured out a neat way to skirt the SEC’s rule about how Facebook can’t have more than 500 shareholders–by saying that all its clients and partners are 1 shareholder (which, technically, they are). So it gets to thumb its nose at the SEC while coining money for itself and its clients.
Fifth, Goldman gets to brag in the Wall Street Journal about the AMAZINGLY STRONG DEMAND for Facebook stock BEFORE THE OFFERING IS CLOSED.* This news, of course, will make fence-sitters positively desperate to play ball. It’s the reason that, in normal IPOs, there’s a rule against bragging publicly about how wildly oversubscribed your deal is (because investors are sheep, and when they see loads of other sheep doing something, they want to do it, too).
Anyway, once again, Goldman wins, and the rest of Wall Street gets to gawp in envy.
It just doesn’t suck to be Goldman Sachs.
* Well, OK, it’s Goldman’s clients who are doing the bragging in the Wall Street Journal article, but it accomplishes the same thing.