Simon English: What a shame about the Facebook float

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The Independent Online

Outlook It's a terrible pity that the Facebook flotation has turned into such a disaster (removes glasses, grins slyly).

That an organisation which expects complete openness from users while being shiftily privateitself should get into bed with Wall Street and quickly come a cropper is a damn shame (turns to camera, blinks slowly).

It's not as if this business is a screeching waste of users' time and of the careers of the undoubted brainboxes behind it who could better serve humanity by building tangible businesses that make things people need or, say, curing cancer (ok, you get the idea).

But if Facebook and the lead adviser on the inept float Morgan Stanley are presently down, who's up?

Presumably other tech companies that don't exist purely to allow people to invade their own privacy start looking like better places to invest. That's got to be a good thing.

Twitter might learn from a few of Facebook's mistakes and manage not to repeat them.

Which investors won?

Because the float is so new, not many people will have been able to get hold of shares to successfully bet against the stock by going short, though perhaps a few savvy spread betters in this country did so (ETX Capital has been offering a price since before the float).

But it is to be hoped that somewhere there's a curmudgeonly grump who thinks the internet is evil, found a way to bet against the shares and is presently cackling by candlelight deep into the night.

Otherwise, the big winner here might turn out to be Goldman Sachs (again).

Despite years of sucking up to Facebook, it didn't win lead adviser status on the float, losing out to its most hated arch-rival.

Goldman bankers are now trawling Silicon Valley, picking up the phone to hundreds of potential clients, and whispering: you seewhat happens if you hire Morgan Stanley...