Facebook holds first shareholders meeting


June 11, 2013 6:11:38 PM PDT
Menlo Park-based Facebook held its first shareholder meeting Tuesday, almost a year after its troubled initial public offering. Shares initially sold for $38, but they've dropped nearly in half. Tuesday was the first opportunity for investors to grill CEO Mark Zuckerberg about what he's going to do about that.Protest groups against the Keystone XL Pipeline project plan on rallying outside Facebook's shareholders meeting Millbrae Tuesday.

When Facebook went public at $38, investors jumped in, thinking the price could only go up. Instead, it dropped into the teens and has never climbed back to its initial price. So Facebook's first shareholder meeting was shareholders first crack to hold Zuckerberg's feet to the fire. Zuckerberg told them he's working on it.

"We think that over time we're building an asset and network that's increasingly valuable all over the world, and we believe that over the long term we will generate the most value for shareholders by doing that," Zuckerberg said.

At least one shareholder seemed satisfied.

"We're frustrated with the stock price, but I think he really believes it's going to be OK," Edgar Dean said. "This guy's a straight-shooter. It's the first time I've seen him in person, and I really think he has our best interests at heart."

However, there was no indication how soon a stock comeback could happen.

"I'm willing to wait, I'm not that old yet," investor Nancy Thomson said.

On the issue of government access to its severs, Zuckerberg said the NSA has never contacted Facebook. However, later in the day, Facebook's general counsel issued a statement that the company would like "to share with those who use Facebook... A complete picture of the government requests we receive and how we respond...We urge the United States government to help make that possible."

The challenge for Facebook will be in the year ahead as it continues to try to monetize its presence in the mobile space and to see whether or not it can get that stock price back up.