Twitter today said it had officially submitted paperwork for a planned public offering of stock. The company disclosed that it had filed the documents via a Tweet at 6 p.m.
A Twitter IPO could be the most anticipated technology stock offering since Facebook went public in May 2012, and things could get just as complicated.
Facebook’s stock sagged, then clawed back up, as the company grappled with whether it could successfully advertise on mobile devices (see “How Facebook Slew the Mobile Monster”). Facebook is worth $108 billion today.
Earlier this year, Twitter was valued by some investors at $9.8 billion. But it could be worth much more than that now.
In the lead-up to its IPO plans, Twitter has become more aggressive about advertising on the site. For instance, in July, Twitter announced a new product called TV ad targeting, which lets advertisers aim messages at users that are mentioning certain TV programs or ads (see “Now Television Advertisers Know You’re Tweeting” and “A Social-Media Decoder”).
Twitter has played an increasingly important role as a source of news and information, including in countries roiled by protests and uprisings, where the service is used by organizers (see “Streetbook”). It is blocked in China.
An IPO will increase pressure on Twitter to raise revenues from advertising—and use technologies to track what people are doing, saying, and watching. That could bring it into conflict with some users, including those who switched to the site because it seemed less commercial.
Earlier this year, Twitter’s advertising revenues were estimated at $582 million with half from people accessing the site from mobile devices. Alexa ranks Twitter in 10th position among the most popular websites.