7 Jun 2012

Nasdaq offers $60m payout over Facebook glitches

2:52 pm on 7 June 2012

Institutional investors have been offered $NZ60 million by the world's second largest stock exchange, the Nasdaq, to compensate for computer glitches that marred the Facebook share "float" last month.

After initial delays, investors were left unsure if they'd successfully completed transactions, leaving many holding on to dwindling investments in the social networking site.

In the first two weeks of trading, Facebook shares have fallen sharply.

Some investors had hoped to "stag" the shares, selling them on the issue day to take advantage of pent-up buyer demand.

But technical problems kept many investors from buying shares in the morning or selling them later in the day.

Payouts are meant to reimburse some of those who lost money because of the fault.

Delays proved costly

Opening of trading was delayed by half an hour and some investors were unable to tell whether their orders were processed, while others said they were left holding shares they did not want.

Facebook's shares went on sale at $US38 a share on 18 May, but rose sharply in early trading, something many buyers had hoped to capitalise on by selling during the day.

They ended the day barely above the starting level though, and have floundered since, falling to around $US25 a share, the BBC reports.

Nasdaq says it will reimburse those who tried to sell into the first-day bounce at $US42 or less, but either couldn't sell or sold at a lower price than they intended.

The $US40m is more than 10 times the $US3m previously paid by Nasdaq for technical errors, but already there have been complaints from some investors it will not be enough to cover losses.