Twitter's public stock debut, set for Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange, has been carefully orchestrated to avoid the glitches and eventual letdown that surrounded Facebook's initial public offering 18 months ago.
Twitter set a price of $26 per share for its initial public offering on Wednesday evening and will begin trading Thursday under the ticker symbol “TWTR'' in the most highly anticipated IPO since its Silicon Valley rival's 2012 debut.
The price values Twitter at more than $18 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock expected to be available after the IPO. That's more than Macy's, which has a market capitalization of $17 billion, and Bed Bath & Beyond, which is valued at around $16 billion. Facebook Inc.'s value, meanwhile, stood at $104 billion at the time of its IPO.
Twitter, named after the sound of a chirping bird, got its start 7 years ago, first with Jack Dorsey and then Evan Williams as CEO. Its current chief is Dick Costolo, a former Google executive who once aspired to be a stand-up comedian. On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the world's first tweet: ``Just setting up my twttr.'' Noah Glass, who helped create Twitter posted the same words just 10 minutes later.
Since then, the social network that lets users send short messages in 140-character bursts has attracted world leaders, religious icons and celebrities, along with CEOs, businesses and a slew of marketers and self-promoters.
Tempering expectations was a big theme in the weeks leading up to Twitter's IPO. The company tried to avoid the trouble that plagued Facebook's high-profile offering. Facebook's public debut was marred by technical glitches on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. As a result, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined Nasdaq $10 million, the largest ever levied against an exchange. Those problems likely led Twitter to the NYSE.
Twitter is also likely hoping for a first-day pop of its shares that eluded Facebook's stock. Facebook's shares closed just 23 cents above their $38 IPO price on their first trading day. They traded below $38 for more than a year.
Still, $18 billion is a lofty valuation for Twitter compared with its peers. At its IPO price, Twitter valued at roughly 28 times its projected 2013 revenue _$650 million based on its current growth rate. In comparison, Facebook trades at about 16 times its projected 2013 revenue, according to analyst forecasts from FactSet. Google Inc. meanwhile,