Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post cut his price target for shares of Facebook (FB) to $210 from $230 citing increased regulatory risk.

The analyst, however, reiterates a Buy rating on the shares with his target representing substantial upside from current levels. Facebook closed yesterday up 67c to $160.06. The Federal Trade Commission investigation is significant as it raises risk of civil penalties on data privacy violations, Post tells investors in a research note. And if history serves, the investigation could take multiple years to resolve, the analyst adds. He points out that the FTC/Department of Justice investigation into Microsoft (MSFT) took over a decade.

In the meantime, Post sees user and usage erosion, with “negative news flow likely to continue into Q2,” as the biggest near-term and long-term risk for Facebook.

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