Felix Salmon

Google’s evil stock split

April 13, 2012

Count me in with Robert Cyran: there’s something a little evil about the way that Google is splitting its stock, and in so doing creating a whole new class of non-voting shares.

How Groupon accounts for its deals

April 3, 2012

It’s another bad day for Groupon: not only is Andrew Ross Sorkin using the company as Exhibit A in his opposition to the JOBS Act, but more worryingly the WSJ is now reporting that the SEC is examining the earnings revision which Groupon announced yesterday.

What happened at Groupon?

April 2, 2012

I bought Rocky Agrawal brunch on Saturday, at a cost to myself somewhat smaller than the amount I’m going to have to shell out if I lose my bet with him. Which is looking increasingly likely. I lose the bet if Groupon’s market capitalization on October 31 is less than 30% of the market capitalization of Priceline. When Groupon went public, the ratio was 72%, which gave me a very healthy cushion. But as of today, I’m underwater: the ratio is now just 24%, thanks in large part to an astonishing and quite unexpected run-up in Priceline’s stock, which is now comfortably over $700 per share.

Strange bedfellows: Gretchen Morgenson and Patrick Byrne

March 26, 2012

Today’s story from Gretchen Morgenson, about Goldman Sachs and short selling, is notable for two things. One one front, it fails to deliver: Morgenson seems to be trying to make a case that Goldman might be guilty of naked shorting, but she doesn’t really come close. On a second front, however, it’s a great leap forwards for Morgenson.

Chart of the day, flash-crash edition

March 24, 2012

ZeroHedge has the chart of the day:


What you’re seeing here is the price of shares in BATS, at 11:14 this morning. The white spots are trades: there are 176 of them altogether. They start just below the IPO price of $16, and then just fall lower and lower and lower until the stock is trading for mere pennies. But the key number you want to look at here is not on the y-axis. Instead, it’s the chart report at the very top:

How the IPO market is broken

March 21, 2012

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has a very smart response to my Wired story about IPOs.

Gobry has one main point. VCs aren’t bad for pushing their portfolio companies to grow at all costs he says; indeed, they have to be that way.

SecondMarket’s unnecessary Facebook Fund

March 20, 2012

The latest sign that the Facebook IPO is going to be particularly bonkers comes from Jon Ogg, who has discovered a Facebook Fund over at SecondMarket.

Apple’s sensible dividend

March 19, 2012

Historically I haven’t been a fan of people saying that Apple should start paying dividends. I didn’t like it when Jon Fortt pushed it in 2007, and I didn’t like it when Arik Hesseldahl had the same idea in 2008. (Although by that point I did concede that “a modest dividend, tied to profits, makes perfect sense”.) Fast forward to 2012, however, and I think that Apple’s announcement is a perfectly sensible one, and if anything overdue.

Did the market know about Apple’s announcement?

March 19, 2012

On Tuesday March 6, Apple shares opened at $523.66. On Thursday March 15 — eight trading days later — they opened at $599.61. Which means that over the course of those eight trading days, the market capitalization of Apple increased by more than 70 billion dollars.