11 May 2012
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Hoodie hoopla: will fashion hurt the Facebook IPO?

With social networking behemoth Facebook due to launch its historic IPO as early as next week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been touring Wall Street pitching to potential investors in a bid to shore up support for the move.

Unfortunately, the whirlwind tour has been blown off course by one analyst’s comments about Zuckerberg’s dress sense – in particular, his trademark hoodie.

In a widely repeated interview, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told Bloomberg that Zuckerberg’s refusal to don a suit and tie was ‘a mark of immaturity’.

"He’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much,” Pachter says.

"I think he has to realise he’s bringing investors in as a new constituency right now, and I think he’s got to show them the respect that they deserve because he’s asking them for their money.”

Comparisons are inevitably drawn to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who spent much of his career wearing the identical turtleneck & jeans combo and was of course one of the most successful tech CEOs of all time.

It must also be noted that Pachter still gave Facebook a ‘buy’ recommendation, citing mobile advertising as a potential avenue for growth.

Zuckerberg, who turns 28 next week, has been known to suit up before, for example when meeting Barack Obama in 2011. As Doug Gross at CNN points out, he wore a tie for an entire year after the 2008 recession to signify ‘how serious and important a year this was’.

Does this suggest Zuckerberg doesn’t place the same importance on the IPO? Or is the hoodie intended to make sure the networks users don’t feel Facebook is ‘selling out’? Could his suitcase have been at the airport? Post your comments below.

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