Facebook changes IPO pitch in Boston, scraps video; takes time for questions

BOSTON, Tue May 8, 2012 – Facebook Inc.’s initial public offering pitch played to some bad reviews in New York, so for its Boston audience on Tuesday, the 30-minute video was scrapped and the company took more questions from analysts and potential investors.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg did not attend the breakfast pitch at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Facebook did not play the video, as it did in New York, after grumblings that not enough time was left for questions from the audience, according to analysts who spoke with Facebook officials.

The Boston event attracted about 200 people, including analysts, hedge fund managers and Will Danoff, who manages the $84 billion Contrafund for Fidelity Investments.

The 8-year-old social network that began as Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room project has indicated an IPO per-share range of $28 to $35, pegging the potential value of the company at $77 billion to $96 billion. Some attendees expressed disappointment that Zuckerberg did not make an appearance, but said they liked having more time to ask questions.

One analyst, who did not want to be named, said no reason was given for Zuckerberg’s absence. Facebook was not available to comment and reporters were not admitted to the presentation.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was present to answer potential investors’ questions, which ranged from the company’s strategy in China to revenue-per-customer trends, attendees said.

The IPO for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is expected to raise up to $10.6 billion, an amount that would best the debuts of tech companies such as Google Inc. while giving it a total stock market value that rivals Amazon.com Inc.’s.

On Monday, Facebook kicked off its cross-country IPO roadshow tour in New York, where Zuckerberg showed up wearing a “hoodie” sweatshirt. He also fielded questions, including about its $1 billion purchase of Instagram, a deal that Zuckerberg personally negotiated.

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