#Twitter shares going @US$26 apiece
TWITTER priced its initial public offering (IPO) above its expected range to raise at least US$1.8 billion (S$2.2 billion), in a sign of strong investor demand for the most highly anticipated United States public float since Facebook.
The microblogging network priced 70 million shares at US$26, above the targeted range of US$23 to US$25, which had been raised once before from an initial range of US$17 to US$20.
The IPO values Twitter at US$14.1 billion, with the potential to reach US$14.4 billion if underwriters exercise an over-allotment option, as they are widely expected to.
If the full overallotment is exercised, Twitter could raise US$2.1 billion, making it the second-largest Internet offering in the US behind Facebook's $16-billion IPO last year and ahead of Google's 2004 US$1.92-billion IPO, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Some analysts say they expect shares to experience a small pop during the first day. Twelve-month price targets on the stock range from US$29 to US$54.
Mr Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group who valued Twitter this week at US$29 a share, said the stock appears to have strong institutional-investor support and could easily close over US$30 a share on its first day. But he warned that trading could be volatile, given that Wall Street has struggled to value an unorthodox social-media company with a newfangled business model.
"There's still so much uncertainty and it's so difficult to even identify how big the opportunity is," he said. "Twitter will make Netflix look like General Electric as a bellwether of stability."
Investor enthusiasm for Twitter, which boasts 230 million users, including heads of state and celebrities, is strong even though the microblogging network has not turned a profit since it was created in 2006.