[UPDATE BELOW] Twitter is about to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (which opens at 9:30 a.m. Eastern/6:30 a.m. Pacific time). Shares are priced at $26, which values the company at $18 billion. "That makes Twitter worth more than many storied American corporations, like Alcoa and Harley-Davidson. At that valuation, each of Twitter’s 230 million users around the world is worth $78," claims Dealbook. Congratulations—our "FML" tweets are at least worth $0.00001 each!
The Wall Street Journal reports, "The short-messaging service's IPO is the biggest U.S. technology debut since Facebook Inc. last year. The deal is set to raise as much as $2.1 billion for the San Francisco-based company, which remains unprofitable but which has transformed public discussion on subjects from celebrities to public policy to pets. The price of $26 is available primarily to large investors such as mutual funds and hedge funds, as well as some of the individual clients of the banks underwriting the deal, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc."
There's a lot of excitement on Wall Street—and it looks like some celebs will be on hand:
Reuters' Felix Salmon has some thoughts about Twitter and you:
So how is the individual investor supposed to navigate these treacherous waters? It’s actually incredibly easy. And it works like this. Twitter’s profits, if and when they ever appear, are going to be some fraction of its revenues. Its revenues, in turn, are going to be some fraction of the value it provides to its users. I have personally already extracted many thousands of dollars in value out of Twitter, over the past five years, and it hasn’t cost me a penny. On an ROI basis, I’m doing unbelievably well — and my returns are only going to keep on growing into the future.Anyway, Twitter chose the NYSE for its listing, after Facebook's terrible NASDAQ launch. Additionally, a protest is planned outside Twitter's HQ today, to slightly dull the buzz from the instantly minted millionaire's champagne chugging.
Here’s my advice, then: take the amount of money you were thinking of investing in Twitter, and divide it by the rate at which you value your own time. So, if you were going to invest $5,000 and you value your time at $50 per hour, then you’d end up with a figure of 100 hours. Then, instead of spending the $5,000 on Twitter stock, spend 100 hours on Twitter: the cost is the same. The value you get from being on Twitter — from interacting with people you admire, from learning new things, from being able to express yourself so easily and concisely — will be much greater than the value you’d ever get from buying $5,000 of Twitter stock. And you’ll still have $5,000 left over to do whatever you want with, whether it’s putting it into some other investment or spending it on something awesome — a holiday, perhaps, or a gift to a friend, or even some fine wine.
Update 6:50 a.m.: The opening bell has rung but Twitter has still not officially begun trading. Here is a Vine of the Twitter people ringing the bell, which we found on Twitter.
BuzzFeed reporter Mariah Summers has been live-tweeting the experience from the floor of the stock exchange. She says the reporters look as bored as the traders, and some newcomers to the trading floor "are upset there's no physical bell in sight, but there is a hashtag for one so..."
Looks like it's about to open at $40 but traders near me are saying $42 pic.twitter.com/ZLVfmKwsST— Mariah Summers (@mariahjsummers) November 7, 2013
Update 7 a.m.: Patrick Stewart tells CNBC that Twitter "has become one of the most significant aspects of my life and my career." Anyone can play King Lear, but only Twitter can inspire a man to dress up as a lobster and lie in a bathtub for LULZ.
Update 7:10 a.m.: Sources tell Reuters that Twitter's offering is quite "oversubscribed," meaning would-be investors have requested to buy 30 times the number of shares that are being put on offer. The sources said "ten institutional investors received 50 percent of the deal, with about 750 accounts getting less than 10,000 shares." Meanwhile, outside Twitter HQ:
While we wait for trading to begin and contemplate the utter meaninglessness of all this, here's the little girl who rang the bell:
Update 7:47 a.m.: Still waiting... still waiting. The consensus appears to be this is not a delay—trading was not expected to begin until after 10:45 EST. In the meantime, here's a stellar photo of the hungry, drooling capitalists waiting for their fresh meat to drop:
Update 7:55 a.m.: IT'S TRADING! IT'S TRADING! TWTR opened at a trading price of $45.10, up 80% from that initial number of $26 per share. Twitter just made some people billionaires #LOL. There were no technical glitches inside the clown car as it plunged into the goldmine.