Is Twitter Really Ready To Go IPO?

Microblogging service Twitter is going IPO. The social networking site, which has more than 200 million members, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make its debut on the public markets with an initial public offering. Some are calling it the most anticipated IPO since Facebook, but others still wonder if the timing is right.

"We've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO," Twitter tweeted. "This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale."

Not surprisingly, the message went viral, getting retweeted more than 13,000 times even as analysts start to dissect what this means for Twitter and other social media networks.

What's Twitter Worth?

We asked Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, for his reaction to Twitter going IPO. For starters, the way Twitter filed is telling.

Under the JOBS Act the microblogging service is permitted to confidentially file its S-1 if gross revenues are less than $1 billion. Twitter's revenues have been estimated to be roughly $600 million in 2013. And, Sterling noted, apparently the company was profitable in the fourth quarter of last year, although it may no longer be because of recent acquisitions.

"Given Facebook's recovery and the story that Twitter can tell the marketplace, I suspect demand for Twitter's offering will be heavy. It will likely seek considerably more than the $1 billion in VC funds that have been invested in the company over the past six years," Sterling said.

"Twitter's shares have been bought and sold on the private market for some time with the current value of the company being somewhere north of $9 or so billion," he said. "The IPO should push Twitter's market cap up well beyond that."

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