Twitter has been a relatively secretive company over the past seven years - not talking revenue, specific users or growth since its inception. But now with plans to become a publicly traded company, Twitter has been forced to spill it all, giving us a little more insight into what goes on behind the social networking giant. Twitter has now filed its S-1 documents with the US Securities Exchange Commission, revealing all the details.
Twitter will list under the stock ticker "TWTR", giving investors a clear idea of which company they're dealing with. Twitter wants to raise $1 billion when it goes public in the near future; we haven't been provided with a specific timeframe or what stock exchange it will list on. Exactly 472,613,753 shares of stock will be made available when the IPO occurs.
As for financials, Twitter says it has $164 million in cash and is actually losing money. Of course, the company hopes that money from investors will help change that. A valuation, or what the company is worth, has not been listed, but in the past it has been said to be $10 billion. Twitter revenue was also revealed for the first time: in 2012, the company garnered $316.9 million with a loss of $79.4 million. In 2013, revenues are on the up for the first half of the year, with $253.6 million earned and $69.3 million lost.
Financials aside, the IPO filing becomes more interesting when we learn about users. Twitter says it currently has 218.3 million users accessing its social network each month, creating a whopping 300 billion tweets since Twitter founded seven years ago. Mobile was also talked about plenty in the filing, which makes sense because it's no secret that most users access Twitter from their mobile phones. Of the 218.3 million monthly active users, 75 per cent (or 161.25 million users) are accessing the social network via their phones.
As for advertising revenue for Twitter, its bread and butter, mobile access accounts for 65 per cent of all its ad revenues: "We expect that the proportion of active users on, and advertising revenue generated from, mobile devices, will continue to grow in the near term," the company told potential investors.
As with most IPO filings, Twitter revealed its mission statement: "The mission we serve as Twitter Inc is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. Our business and revenue will always follow that mission in ways that improve–and do not detract from–a free and global conversation," the company stated.
Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone founded Twitter in March 2006. Many of the original founders have moved on to other projects, leaving Jack Dorsey as the company's chairman and Dick Costolo as the CEO. The S-1 filing revealed Williams owns 12 per cent of the company, Dorsey owns 4.9 per cent and Dick Costolo owns 1.6 per cent. Obviously, they'll rake in some serious cash when the company goes public.
Many involved in trading are watching to see if Twitter's IPO ends up like Facebook's, which was considered a bit of a disaster. Twitter will use the $1 billion generated from the IPO to build and expand products, ramp up advertising and acquire new talent needed to keep up growth.
Twitter confidentially filed for an IPO under a 2012 law called the JOBS act, which allows a company to keep initial filings under wraps if it has less than $1 billion in annual revenue. The law also assists start-ups with less than $1 billion in revenue with going public, according to Reuters. It's suspected Twitter did this to keep the excitement down for the IPO - hopefully taking a different course from what happened to Facebook.
One example of what it would do with its money is a redefined TV experience, which it spoke of in the filing: ”We provide advertisers with this targeting capability by analysing a user’s Tweets to determine which television shows a user has tweeted about and matching this information with information regarding which commercials were aired during these shows,” it said.