Hope for the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Free Basics Program in India is Dwindling as Indian Authorities Question Legitimacy of Company’s Claim


There was a lot of hope for both India and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), when the company introduced their plans to bring free internet to all of India. Now, however, the program looks to be threatened, with India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) questioning if Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) actually did find 11 million Indians who support Free Basics.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) says that their advertising means have discovered 11 million people in India who would like the country to allow the company’s Free Basics internet service – a slimmed down version of the full internet. However, when the TRAI tried to email those contacts, they say they could not reach most of them. Many emails bounced, and those who opted in via calling a phone number (“giving a missed call”) were not able to be verified by the TRAI since they did not receive the calls themselves.

The TRAI wanted four questions answered by those individuals responding with their opions on Free Basics, but the form letters which were sent to the company (supplied by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)) allegedly did not answer those questions.

Now we are at a standstill and with the consultation closing tomorrow, it appears as though Free Basics may be threatened at least for now.
The stock is down 3.44% or $3.42 following the news, hitting $95.95 per share. Approximately 19.75M shares traded hands. FB shares have risen 23.18% since June 9, 2015 and are currently uptrending. It has outperformed the S&P500 by 30.66%.

From a total of 33 analysts covering Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock, 32 rate it a “Buy”, 1 a “Sell”, and 0 a “Hold”. This means that 97% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $155.0 while the lowest target price is $88. The mean of all analyst targets is $122.65 which is 27.83% above today’s ($95.95) stock price. Facebook was the topic of 58 analyst reports since July 21, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Argus Research maintained shares on November 6 with a “Buy” rating. Morgan Stanley maintained shares with a”Overweight” rating and a $120 target share price in their report from a November 5. Canaccord Genuity maintained FB stock in a recent report from November 5 with a “Buy” rating. Credit Suisse maintained the rating on November 5. Credit Suisse has a “Outperform” rating and a $135 price target on shares. Finally, Jefferies maintained the stock with a “Buy” rating in a report they issued on a November 5.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.73 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.01, from 1.72 in 2015Q2. The ratio is positive, as 69 funds sold all their Facebook Inc shares they owned while 375 reduced their positions. 126 funds bought stakes while 643 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 1.55 billion shares which is 2.48% more than the previous share count of 1.51 billion in 2015Q2.

Millennium Tvp Management Co. Llc holds 52.76% of its total portfolio in Facebook Inc, equating to 639,552 shares. Parametric Risk Advisors Llc owns 7.97 million shares representing 46.51% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Sc Us (Ttgp) Ltd. has 41.15% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 1.04 million shares. The California-based Meritech Capital Associates Iii L.L.C. has a total of 37.81% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Duquesne Family Office Llc, a New York-based fund reported 4.09 million shares owned.

Since February 25, 2015, the stock had 0 insider buys, and 40 sales for a total of $179.24 million in net activity. Athwal Jas sold 30,000 shares worth $3.06M. Stretch Colin sold 1,000 shares worth $98,710. Cox Christopher K sold 5,778 shares worth $561,622. Schroepfer Michael Todd sold 31,283 shares worth $3.00 million. The insider Fischer David B. sold 15,000 shares worth $1.43M.

Facebook, Inc. is a social networking company. The company has a market cap of $274.10 billion. The Firm is engaged in developing products that enables users to connect and share through mobile devices and personal computers. It has 96.39 P/E ratio. It offers various services focused on people, marketers and developers.