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January 03, 2013

Twitter Worth $11 Billion, but You Can't Buy in Yet

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Reports have emerged suggesting that Twitter (News - Alert) is actually worth a pretty substantial amount of money in terms of its stock value. But that may not be the biggest bit of news surrounding Twitter of late; despite the fact that it is reportedly worth around $11 billion, it hasn't actually had an IPO yet and is only being traded in secondary markets.

The reports from Greencrest Capital provided a lot of insight into the likely future plans of the popular social networking site, with Twitter likely to look into an IPO, not in 2013, but rather in 2014 instead. Given that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had mentioned something similar in a discussion on CNBC last year saying that Twitter was poised for an IPO at a time it wouldn't yet reveal, it wasn't too much of a surprise to get the word from Greencrest Capital that an IPO would likely hit in 2014.

Twitter's earlier plans; meanwhile, seem to bolster the idea of an IPO afoot, including some major upgrades to management. Ali Rowghani, formerly of Pixar and formerly Twitter's CFO, got promoted to COO. Zynga's (News - Alert) treasurer, Mike Gupta, was brought in to replace Rowghani at CFO. This has helped fuel trading on secondary markets to hit a recent valuation of $11 billion, according to word from Greencrest. Recent financing helped Twitter hit $8 billion, and rose from there to $10 billion in private trading, though the Facebook (News - Alert) IPO knocked that figure down with subsequent recovery.

Granted, the trading on secondary markets isn't exactly a flawless measure of value. After all, secondary markets are illiquid, and that makes them less than optimal as trades can't reflect public opinion about a company's likelihood of success so readily. But given that Facebook stock was selling at $29.30 just 10 months ago, and it's currently selling at $28, it may well be a better measure than some would expect.

But then, Facebook stock also went through a series of wild maneuvers on its way to $28, so while the private trading may be a better indicator than expected, it isn't likely to tell the whole story. Still, Twitter as an IPO is looking like a pretty good idea, given its massive user base and potential for monetization.

Will we see Twitter stock come available in 2014 or perhaps even earlier? Only time will tell, of course, but it's a pretty safe bet that Twitter will be traded at some point.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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