3. Throwback Thursday: When Facebook went public. Oh what a comparatively innocent time that was, seven years and two months ago, when Facebook debuted on the NASDAQ on May 18, 2012. "Investors who buy Facebook shares are taking a stake in a unique and potentially valuable business," the New York Times wrote the day before. "But they are also exposing themselves to the risks posed by a relatively young company operating in uncharted territory." The company's shares debuted at a price of $38, and closed that Friday up just 23 cents, at $38.23.
If you had bought 100 shares at that IPO price for $3,800, those would be worth $20,000 as of today, for a net profit of $16,200. Of course not all investors saw the potential in Facebook at the time, even though the company's valuation of $104 billion was at the time higher than Amazon's, McDonald's or Citigroup's. The IPO made the company $16 billion, and it made Zuckerberg an immediate billionaire, with his personal shares worth $19 billion.
To celebrate the IPO, instead of a lavish party, Zuckerberg and company had a "hackathon" on the eve of the IPO, working into the wee hours like nerds, "amped up on Red Bull and workers-turned-D.J.’s playing their tunes," as the company told the Times. It was the company's 31st hackathon, and already a tradition at that point.
Facebook would see a leap in its share price in February 2014 when it announced its acquisition of WhatsApp, hitting $68 that day. And while the stock took a dive amid scandal and poor earnings last summer, it is back up to $200 a share today.