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Zuckerberg’s Magical Mystery Tour

It'll take him anywhere but near a stuffy board room


Facebook is gearing up for one of the biggest initial public offerings in recent history, but it looks like Mark Zuckerberg thinks it is a non-event. He recently blew off the first meeting with Wall Street bankers and analysts. Instead, he thought it was more important to focus on product development.

This week — after being spotted vacationing in China, no less — Zuckerberg landed in Japan and even met with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. At least he took that seriously, though — Zuckerberg wore a suit for the occasion.

While in Japan, Zuckerberg discussed the importance of Facebook during the earthquake and tsunami last year. And the user count in Japan has doubled over the past six months alone, to a whopping 10 million.

And sure, these international efforts are certainly important in the name of expansion. But perhaps Zuck should spend some of his time on his IPO. In addition to its historic value, it will be a key part of the company’s development and give the social network even more exposure than it already has.

Unfortunately, it looks like Zuckerberg might not even go on the roadshow and even not be on the future earnings calls — an exceedingly odd thing in corporate America, especially considering Zuckerberg will have 56.9% voting control.

Regardless, this cavalier attitude is likely to have little impact on the IPO, which is expected to hit the markets sometime in May. As a sign of their intense interest, investment bankers — including lead underwriter Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and supporting bankers JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) — agreed to cut their fees to a rock-bottom 1.1% of the capital raised. Yes, the Facebook deal really is a trophy.

The timing for the Facebook IPO — and Zuckerberg’s indifference — might just be spot-on. Investors are hungry for fast-growing companies, as evidenced by today’s offering of Millennial Media (NYSE:MM), the No. 2 advertising network for mobile devices. The stock is up nearly 100% in today’s trading.

So maybe IPO-hungry investors will be able to overlook Zuckerberg’s traveling shenanigans.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook,” “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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