T. Rowe Price Group Inc. has posted a profit every quarter since going public in 1986, in part because the firm sat out the dot-com boom in the 1990s and scaled back mortgage holdings before the housing collapse.
As Facebook Inc. prepares what may become the biggest IPO ever by an Internet company, the Baltimore-based asset manager is betting this time is different. T. Rowe holds the biggest stake of any mutual-fund company in Facebook, the world's largest social-networking service. It is also among the main holders of Zynga Inc., Angie's List Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., all public companies, and has put money into Twitter Inc. and LivingSocial.com, which are closely held.
T. Rowe, which manages $490 billion, mostly in equities, is telling investors that Internet companies are more mature now than during the 1990s, when companies with no earnings prospects went public. The current Web companies have greater potential and are further along in their development, T. Rowe Price said in a report to shareholders last year titled “A New Era of Internet Investing.”
“They didn't get caught up in the hype of the dot-com world, but they seem to be saying they see value in some of these new companies,” Geoff Bobroff, a mutual-fund consultant in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, said in a telephone interview.