Downtime

Jan 19 2011   1:33PM GMT

Goldman Facebook letter echoes junk bond era

ComputerWeeklyStaff Profile: ComputerWeeklyStaff

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Further to the 419 scam, Goldman Sachs’ invitation to the world’s richest people to become even richer by buying a minimum of $100,000 shares in Facebook comes news that Goldman has decided not to offer Facebook shares in the US, Reuters reports. Presumably, the investment bank will now try to raise the $1.5bn it was looking for on behalf of Mark Zuckerberg from Russian oligarchs and Nigerian con-men, now the only ones with the readies, except, thanks to the present oil price, the rulers of some Middle Eastern countries.
In true shoot-the-messenger style, Goldman, which made billions before, during and after the collapse of the banking world in 2008, said, “The level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a US private placement under US law.”
Downtime would like to think that his coverage had some effect on Goldman’s decision , but acknowledges that the decision of the Securities Exchange Commission to look into the deal probably had more to do with it.
Curiously, the Goldman letter seemed uncomfortably close in spirit to the “highly confident” letters junk bond king Michael Milken used to send to his good friends, at least until he plea-bargained a racketeering and securities fraud charge into 22 months time served. Oh, and a $200m fine.
Not that Milken, now a cancer philanthropist, minds. Forbes magazine last year rated him the 488th= richest person in the world. All it took was $2.2bn.

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