Based on accounts we've seen, the first stop on Facebook's IPO roadshow was a hectic event. According to The Wall Street Journal's Ryan Dezember, David Benoit, and Shayndi Raice, with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook executives in attendance, security was high, the sidewalks were crowded, and the cameramen were aggressive. Arriving in a black Cadillac Escalade, Zuckerberg skipped the scrum of people outside the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan and strolled in through a side door wearing his trademark hoodie and jeans.
The event began nearly an hour late, though the crowd of hundreds of investors had cobb salad and grilled chicken lunch to keep them occupied. A 30-minute video about Facebook came first, and then the floor opened up to questions. However, this bit was delayed because Zuckerberg was in the bathroom. Six questions and 20 minutes later, Facebook's executives called it a wrap, and Zuckerberg headed back to his Escalade, security guards in tow. One attendee told The Los Angeles Times' Jessica Guynn, "All in all, it wasn't extremely penetrating."
The roadshow hit Boston on Tuesday morning with less fanfare according to The Boston Herald's Marie Szaniszlo. (No cobb salad, no 30-minute video, no Zuckerberg and thus no bathroom delay.) But there's no getting around the fact that the IPO itself will be huge. The 337.4 million shares set to be sold for between $28 and $35 each will put Facebook's valuation as high as $96 billion making this the biggest initial public offering in history. UPS's IPO at $67 billion in 1999 will be the distant second. While investors interviewed outside the roadshow seemed somewhat tepid about the lead-up to the event, it's hard not to be blown over by the scale of it all.
As his extended bathroom break might suggests, Mark Zuckerberg may not terribly excited about his company going public. At the end of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook executives had to convince Zuckerberg to agree on the IPO option for the company, and since then, he's been relatively quiet about Facebook's IPO plans. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg came off confident at the roadshow event in New York. When asked about Facebook's $1 billion purchase of Instagram, the 27-year-old billionaire responded flatly, "I'd do it again."