Twitter Files IPO

Social giant, valued at $10 billion, tweets that it has filed a confidential S-1 with the SEC

After months of speculation about Twitter’s plans to go public, the company said Thursday it had filed for an initial public offering — however, the filing is confidential for now.

The announcement, of course, came in a tweet:

Twitter is valued at around $10 billion, based on a filing by investor GSV Capital in May. GSV owns 1.9 million shares of Twitter valued at $35.2 million, or about $18.50 a share, the firm said the filing.

SEE ALSO: Twittervision: How Video + Social Media Will Change Twitter (and Entertainment)

Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has grown to more than 200 million active users who send 400 million tweets daily, the company said earlier this year. The company is on track to generate $583 million in revenue this year, rising to $950 million in 2014, according to research firm eMarketer.

Still, Twitter’s user base is not as massive as Facebook, which boasted 1.15 billion users worldwide as of June 2013. Facebook went public in May 2012 in an IPO that raised $16 billion — and lost half its value in three months, before rebounding in late July of this year on strong mobile growth.

Twitter filed the S-1 registration confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the provisions of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The 2012 law, which applies to businesses with less than $1 billion in annual revenue, is aimed at encouraging smaller companies to go public. Under the JOBS Act, qualifying companies do not have to make their IPO filing public until 21 days prior to the “roadshow” for prospective investors.

Goldman Sachs will lead Twitter’s public offering, with other banks expected to join as underwriters, according to multiple reports citing anonymous sources.

In the past year Twitter has increased its focus on TV and entertainment, with live television especially relevant to the real-time social service.

The company’s efforts to make money off TV tweets include Amplify, which lets media partners sell ads in video clips embedded in tweets. Twitter also has launched a service that lets TV programmers target paid tweets to viewers who (based on their activity) appear to be watching their channel. In addition, Twitter has acquired two social TV measurement services, Bluefin Labs and Trendrr, and cut a pact with Nielsen to introduce a social TV rating.

In 2012, Twitter had more than 1,000 employees but has been growing rapidly leading up to the expected IPO.

San Francisco-based company was founded as a “microblogging” service by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass (who came up with the service’s name but ankled before the company launched). Twitter’s 140-character limit was designed around messaging limits of mobile phones, and has since spawned an entire subculture of pithy communication, including the famous hashtag device for tracking posts.

Dorsey sent the very first tweet on March 21, 2006:

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