It’s the moment that many investors have been waiting to hear. There have been rumors circling around a Twitter IPO, among which the latest comes from Greencrest Capital, The Guardian reports. Its analysts project Twitter’s IPO to be slated for late 2013 or 2014, and it’s currently sitting at a pretty $11 billion valuation. Twitter just might be the hottest tech IPO and a savior for social startups that need to reinvigorate investor confidence in the wake of poor performances from Facebook, Zynga, Groupon, and Pandora.
Greencrest Capital justifies its predictive timeline for Twitter’s initial public offering by pointing out some key hires to restructure the social network in preparation for an impending IPO. For instance, Ali Rowghani moved up to a COO position, while Mike Gupta from Zynga filled in as the new CFO. One hire that stirred up IPO buzz was Google’s former VP and General Counsel Nicole Wong.
Dick Costolo, however, has denied IPO talk. Publicly he’s passed over IPO questions often, preferring to talk about the company’s present state. He’s apparently more concerned with new features like releasing Tweet archiving on time as he promised, or securing branding and advertising partnerships to add more cash to Twitter’s reserves, as a CEO should be. In September 2011, Dick Costolo said not to expect an IPO in Twitter’s future, and he reiterated this a year in September 2012 telling CNBC, “We have every hope and belief that we will be a successful — independent — company.” It’s worth noting that Costolo is a master with words, and was a stand-up comedian in his past life.
Regardless, an IPO would make sense and investors are urging the company to go public. Twitter’s valuation in the second market, which admittedly isn’t an entirely accurate prediction but can be a solid way to approximate a private company’s worth, has soared to $11 billion. It eventually weathered a hit in the wake of Facebook’s disappointing IPO performance that sent Twitter’s valuation plummeting in the second market to $9 billion from $10 billion during summer 2012. The latest concrete number puts Twitter’s valuation (circa 2011, which was its latest round of financing) at $8 billion, which blew up the now retired valuation of $3.7 billion from only seven months earlier. But social networking financially is taking a turn for the better. Twitter is expected to pull in $1 billion in advertising revenue by 2014 according to Bloomberg – and based on eMarketer’s figures, nearly half of that revenue would be generated by mobile advertising revenue in 2014 and growing. And if it’s any consolation for social media and investors, analysts just upgraded NASDAQ: FB based on their optimism for the social network’s mobile strategy. Facebook is now trading at over $28 at the time of this writing, with Wall Street expectations for it to reach $32 per share.