In the run-up to Facebook’s (FB.O) $16 billion IPO, Morgan Stanley (MS.N), the lead underwriter on the deal, unexpectedly delivered some negative news to major clients: The bank’s consumer Internet analyst, Scott Devitt, was reducing his revenue forecasts for the company.
“This was done during the roadshow – I’ve never seen that before in 10 years,” said a source at a mutual fund firm who was among those called by Morgan Stanley.
“They definitely lowered their numbers and there was some concern about that,” he said. “My biggest hedge fund client told me they lowered their numbers right around mid-roadshow.”
That client, he said, still bought the issue but “flipped his IPO allocation and went short on the first day.”
Institutions and major clients generally enjoy quick access to investment bank research, while retail clients in many cases only get it later. It is unclear whether Morgan Stanley only told its top clients about the revised view or spread the word more broadly. The firm declined to comment when asked who was told about the research.