Twitter Inc gives NYSE momentum in IPO battle versus Nasdaq

Nov 10 2013, 01:17 IST
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An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman. Reuters An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman. Reuters
SummaryTwitter Inc IPO's successful debut on New York Stock Exchange could help Big Board win a title...

Twitter Inc IPO's successful debut on the New York Stock Exchange could help the Big Board win a title it has never held before: the No 1 US listing venue for technology companies and beat Nasdaq at it.

Nasdaq OMX Group had easily scored the most tech initial public offerings every year from 1999 until last year, when NYSE Euronext pulled even.

Including Twitter Inc this week, 19 tech companies have chosen to go public on the NYSE in 2013, while Nasdaq has won only 14 listings so far this year. Tech IPO proceeds also favor the NYSE over Nasdaq, at $4.6 billion to $1.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The reversal is attributed partly to Nasdaq's high-profile bungling of Facebook Inc's debut last year, and partly to changes the NYSE made to its listing standards in 2008 to make it easier for smaller, growing companies to qualify.

"I wouldn't even say they won Twitter Inc, I'd say we lost it," said Bruce Aust, who has headed Nasdaq's listings business for the past decade.

He said that since 2008, when the NYSE changed its listings rules and lowered requirements for market capitalization and income limits, every deal has become competitive.

"They did that because they realized that once a company lists on Nasdaq, they really stay with us," said Aust.

Facebook's $16 billion IPO was highly anticipated but a glitch in Nasdaq's fully electronic system set off a series of events that some market makers said prevented them from knowing their positions in the stock - and led to them to lose $500 million collectively.

Nasdaq is voluntarily compensating firms a total of $41.6 million, and was fined another $10 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In contrast, Twitter Inc's listing on the Big Board went off without a hitch on Thursday, with the stock gaining an eye-opening 73 percent. The NYSE, one of the last exchanges with a trading floor staffed by human beings, had the world's media observe the debut, with NYSE and Twitter Inc executives, as well as X-Men and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart, on hand to help promote the offering.

"Clearly, the Facebook fiasco has hurt Nasdaq and the fact that the NYSE pulled off the Twitter Inc IPO with no technological glitches certainly is good for them," said Jay Ritter, a professor and IPO expert at the University of Florida.

Ritter said the probability was "incredibly good" that had the Twitter IPO

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