One month ago, I took a close look at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock and asked readers whether the stock had finally topped out.
Since then, it seems to have done just that — in the near term, anyway. FB stock has drifted sideways in a narrow range, from a Sept. 25 low below $163 per share to a recent high of over $174 per share. It opened for trade today at $172.61 per share.
The public image of the company has taken a decided turn for the worse. The fact that it let Russia influence the last election with ads seems a given. Formerly hands-off governments are taking a serious look at content regulation. Facebook Live, its video streaming service, looks like a fail as a marketing engine.
CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is King of all Media at an age (33) when his peers haven’t yet paid off their student loans.
It’s good to be the king… except when the peasants come with pitchforks.
Going for the Crown
The turning point for the company, and perhaps for Silicon Valley itself, was last month’s cancellation of a FB stock split meant to maintain Zuckerberg’s control, as he prepares to start donating the world’s fifth-largest fortune to good works.
The cancellation was a shock, given that companies from Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG,GOOGL) to Under Armour Inc. (NYSE:UAA) had made similar moves without complaint. Since then, the knives have come out, as ably described by our James Brumley.
The halo around Zuckerberg has become a devil’s tail at his back and he seems deaf to it, evidenced by his ill-advised “virtual reality tour” of Puerto Rico, for which he was forced to apologize. The “tour” was meant to boost the Oculus Rift VR headset, which is also looking like a failure.