Twitter, the short messaging service that is becoming a global source of breaking news, instant analysis and celebrity tittle-tattle, is ready to make some big money.
Inevitably the company used a Tweet message to announce it will be raising billions with an IPO – initial public offering of shares – on Wall Street.
Twitter carries some adverts now, but to get investors to stump up cash, it will have to explain how it is going to make a lot more money from that.
Analyst Ishaq Siddiqi of ETX Capital said: “We don’t really know how this company is going to monetise themselves; are they going to be looking at advertising? They have a great structure when it comes to analytics, they can really monetise that and push that forward.”
In the ever more important social media world, Twitter is smaller than Facebook in terms of followers – 200 million to Facebook’s more than one billion.
It has 39 million unique visitors per month compared with Facebook’s 167 million.
But Tweeters do stick around longer; average time spent per visit is 36 minutes, whereas with Facebook it is just over 12 minutes.
When the shares are sold the company will be worth much less than Facebook. It is forecast to have a total value the equivalent of eight billion euros. Facebook’s capitalisation is 81 billion euros.
However Twitter does have big growth potential by virtue of those who use it, according to Juliette Garside, Telecoms correspondent with the Guardian newspaper: “If you want to influence the people who influence other people you go to Twitter. You’ve got politicians, you’ve got financiers, heads of business, celebrities, and I think advertisers will pay to reach those people.”
This is the most anticipated share debut since Facebook’s mismanaged event and subsequent share-price plunge last year.
Facebook’s recovery, and advertising revenue growth, have changed attitudes.
A smooth share launch for this IPO could set Wall Street all atwitter again for consumer internet companies.