SAN FRANCISCO — At the one-year anniversary of its initial public offering, Facebook Inc. investors find themselves struggling with the question of whether the glass is half-empty or half-full.
Facebook’s debut was one of the hottest and largest initial public offerings of the young century. But the rapid slide of the social network’s market value from its $38 IPO price on May 18, 2012, has many investors still licking their wounds — especially since the stock hasn’t come anywhere close to that level since then.
A year later, the Facebook IPO is still widely seen as the one of the most disappointing public debuts in history.
But Facebook is also seen as a stronger business, with healthy revenue growth, after the company essentially created a mobile ad business out of nothing. And while the stock hasn’t returned to its IPO levels, it has jumped more than 50 percent since bottoming out last fall.
This has led to a relatively close divide among Wall Street analysts about the company’s performance and the future prospects for the stock.
Many analysts do see Facebook’s business prospects improving, particularly in an area that became a key concern when the company went public: its mobile business.
In its pre-IPO filings, Facebook repeatedly conceded that its ability to make money in mobile was “unproven.”
But then Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s team pulled a surprise. In October, five months after the IPO, Facebook reported that 14 percent of its ad revenue came from mobile, up essentially from zero.