In the end, all of Facebook's major shareholders and insiders who cashed out today got their big payday. It just took a little bit longer for the company to celebrate than initially anticipated.
Facebook this morning was expected to go public at about 8 a.m. PT. However, the shares didn't start trading until approximately 8:30 a.m. PT, causing some to wonder what might have caused the hiccup. During that period, Bloomberg reported that it had received an e-mailed statement from Nasdaq, saying only that it was "experiencing a delay."
According to The Wall Street Journal, the trouble might have started much earlier this morning. Sources the Journal spoke with said that traders were not able to confirm changes or cancellations made to Facebook orders starting as early as 4:30 a.m. PT. Later on in the morning, according to the Journal, traders had not received confirmation from Nasdaq that transactions had actually been completed.
For traders, the implications of a delay in confirmations are major. Without knowing if a sale went through, there's no telling if the transaction was locked in at the desired price. What's worse, the issue can cause some trouble between traders and their not-so-patient clients.
Even so, according to the Journal, Nasdaq had been processing all of the shares as requested -- the issue was solely with its message relays.
It's not hard to see why Nasdaq's systems might have been hit hard by the IPO. According to Dow Jones, over 200 million shares changed hands in the first hour, alone, putting Facebook on pace to become the most heavily traded U.S. IPO in history.