Twitter share price soar in opening trade, giving hopes tech startups
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO - Reuters
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey, and co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, front row left to right, applaud as they watch the opening.Twitter Inc shares jumped 73 percent in a frenzied trading debut that drove the seven-year-old company’s market value to around $25 billion and evoked the heady days of the dot-com bubble.
The strong performance on Nov. 7 is encouraging for the venture capitalists who have backed other consumer Web startups, such as Square or Pinterest, though it sounded alarm bells for some investors who cautioned that the froth was unwarranted.
“@twitter opening at $45/share? Almost 50x revenues! We are officially in another tech bubble,” tweeted financier and investment advisor Steve Rattner.
The stock closed its first day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange at $44.90 a share after hitting a session-high of $50, nearly double the initial public offering price of $26 set late on Nov. 6.
Twitter could raise $2.1 billion if an underwriters’ over-allotment is exercised, as expected, making it the second largest Internet offering in the United States behind Facebook Inc’s $16 billion IPO last year and ahead of Google Inc’s 2004 IPO,.
Most actively traded
Fans believe that Twitter, which has 230 million users, has established itself as an indispensable Internet utility alongside Google and Facebook, and that it has only scratched the surface of its potential as a global advertising medium.
“When people use Twitter they are following certain people, they’re searching for specific information,” said Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “There are powerful marketing signals that are almost Google-esque, something that Facebook doesn’t really have.”
The IPO was shadowed for months by Facebook’s troubled 2012 debut, in which the shares quickly fell below their offering price amid trading glitches and subjected the company and its lead banker, Morgan Stanley, to accusations that they had been greedy in pricing the deal.
The 70 million IPO shares represent about 13 percent of the company’s common shares. Twitter was the most actively traded stock on Nov.7, with around 117 million shares changing hands.
In San Francisco
Heavy demand for the IPO was apparent before the final pricing. Twitter was able to price the IPO above an already raised indicative range, and the deal still attracted investor subscriptions that totaled 30 times the number of shares on offer, according to market sources.
At Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, offices opened early and hundreds of employees flocked to the 9th floor cafeteria to watch the festivities on TV while eating “cronuts,” a croissant-donut hybrid, made by Twitter’s resident chef, Lance Holton.
The IPO is the latest milestone for a service that was born out of a nearly-defunct startup in 2006 and was derided by many in its early years as a silly fad dominated by people talking about what they had for breakfast.
But Twitter quickly began to penetrate popular culture in unexpected ways, with its open design and broadcasting format attracting celebrities, athletes, politicians and anybody who wanted to share short, punchy thoughts with a digital audience.
Its business potential developed more slowly, and the company appeared to be floundering as recently as three years ago, when it was riven by management turmoil and frequently crippled by service outages.
Under Dick Costolo, who took over as CEO in October 2010, Twitter has rapidly ramped up its money-making engine by selling “promoted tweets,” messages from marketers that are distributed to a wide-ranging but targeted group of users.
In the third quarter, Twitter had $168 million in revenue, it said, more than double from a year prior.