I did not intend to post again about the Facebook IPO but Morgan Stanley’s $2.4 Billion Facebook Short persuaded me otherwise for its clear explanation of the Morgan Stanley greenshoe option, which involves shorting the IPO company’s stock. Felix Salmon explains how a greenshoe is supposed to work, the details of the Morgan Stanley Facebook greenshoe, and the circumstances under which the bank can make or lose money on it. Salmon concludes-
[s]o the chances are that at the end of the day, Morgan Stanley is going to end up pretty flat on its trade, selling the shares at $38 and then buying them back at $38. But if it bought more than 63 million shares on Friday, then it is sitting on a substantial mark-to-market loss right now. And similarly, if it bought back fewer than 63 million shares on Friday, then it’s actually making a profit on its greenshoe short.
(Thanks to WSH for sending the article’s link.)