Nasdaq ‘humbly embarrassed’ by what happened on Facebook’s big day

May 21, 2012

Facebook's long-awaited IPO experienced its fair share of setbacks on Friday, as NASDAQ dealt with a bevy of glitches and intense demand that accompanied the social network's public listing. Sunday, NASDAQ chief executive Robert Greifeld conceded that the exchange is "humbly embarrassed" by the situation, telling reporters that Friday's troubled launch "was not our finest hour." Trading was initially delayed for 30 minutes in the morning, and the setbacks continued when a backlog of orders slowed things considerably and left some investors unsure of their status with the stock. Greifeld explained that unspecified problems with cancelled orders — which had gone undetected by the company's tests leading up to the IPO — were a primary cause of the issues that hampered Facebook's big day.

Despite the stock stumbling out of the gate, Greifeld iterates that NASDAQ never considered a withdrawal, ultimately deeming the first day of trading "successful." Facebook ended Friday at $38.37, a marginal increase over where it began the day. Still, some are questioning whether Mark Zuckerberg & Co. made the right decision in choosing NASDAQ over the New York Stock Exchange. VentureBeat contrasts the approach of the two competitors, noting that NASDAQ's trading system is operated entirely by computers. NYSE largely sticks to the same methods, but crucially also turns to human traders in the event that unforeseen problems arise, keeping investors informed regarding their orders even if systems go down.

We'll never know if an NYSE-backed Facebook listing would've experienced more lucrative success on day one, but for its part, NASDAQ seems confident that the incident won't prevent it from landing major IPOs going forward.

This article originally appeared on theverge.com as Facebook IPO ‘was not our finest hour,’ says NASDAQ chief .

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