The Washington Post

Nasdaq proposes $40 million payout to firms hit in Facebook IPO

Nasdaq has proposed a $40 million payout to compensate member firms who lost money because of technical problems that affected Facebook’s initial public offering.

The plan would see $13.7 million in cash payments to the firms impacted by those technical glitches. The balance of the money, Nasdaq said in a release, would be “credited to members to reduce trading costs” and would be largely paid out within the next six months.

The proposed payout is considerably larger than the $3 million ceiling for accommodation funds that the Securities and Exchange Commission allows, and so the payout is subject to SEC review. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has agreed to evaluate the claims submitted by firms who apply for the program, the release said.

Firms can qualify for the accommodation if they were “directly disadvantaged” by the technical problems ahead of 11:30 a.m. trading. They will also qualify if:

1) they had sells priced at $42 or less that did not execute

2) had sells priced at $42 or less that executed at a lower price

3) had buys priced at $42 that went through but were not immediately confirmed.

Nasdaq has also asked IBM to conduct a review of the exchange’s current systems.

The program will not apply, Nasdaq said, to firms whose losses “resulted from affirmative decisions by members” or if members told investors that unconfirmed trades had, in fact, gone through.

Facebook’s initial public offering had been one of the most anticipated deals of the year but was delayed because of Nasdaq’s technical problems and then failed to gain traction after a brief spike in early trading.

As of Wednesday afternoon at about 1:45 p.m., Facebook shares were priced at $26.13 — 2 percent above the day’s open, but still far below the stock’s debut price of $38 per share.

(The Washington Post Co.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories:

AP: Facebook’s shares advance as broader market gets a lift

Post Tech: Facebook and kids: a business bet

Facebook’s IPO letdown causes others to rethink plans

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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