Citigroup Analyst Mark Mahaney Fired After Sending Confidential Facebook Details To TechCrunch

Posted Oct 29, 2012

Citigroup has fired technology analyst Mark Mahaney.  This is because a Massachusetts securities regulator fined Citigroup $2 million for disclosed confidential information to journalists at popular technology blog,

Mr. Mahaney is a former Morgan Stanley junior analyst that worked at Citigroup since 2005.  He is considered one of the country’s top Internet analysts through his coverage of companies like Google and Facebook.

?We are pleased to have this matter resolved. We take our internal policies and procedures very seriously and have taken the appropriate actions,” stated a Citi spokeswoman.

After the Internet dot-com bubble happened, the banks agreed to tighter restrictions on analyst disclosures.  The communications violated rules at the company.

Mr. Mahaney’s junior associate Eric Jacobs sent TechCrunch reporters the following e-mail on May 2nd before the Facebook IPO:

?I am ramping up coverage on FB and thought you guys might like to see how the street is thinking about it (and our estimates). Any feedback on the investment positives and risks would be super helpful. I want to make sure I’m thinking about this the right way. This, of course is confidential.?

He attached a report from a Citi senior analyst as well.  After the TechCrunch reporter asked if they could use the data citing an anonymous source, Mr. Jacobs said “my boss would eat me alive” since he knew of the consequences.

Mr. Jacobs is a friend of TechCrunch writer Josh Constine and they went to Stanford University together.  The document that Mr. Jacobs sent to Mr. Constine was called “Facebook One Pager.”  This document contained “confidential, nonpublic information,” which included Mr. Mahaney’s Facebook investment risks and investment positives.  This contained the company’s estimated EBITDA and valuation of the company.

Mr. Mahaney also sent e-mails to a French newspaper company known as Capital.  After the Capital reporter sought to ask Mahaney follow-up questions on a report about Google and YouTube, Citi spokespeople denied the request.  Mr. Mahaney responded to the reporter’s e-mails anyway.