Wall Street has been awaiting Twittermas for longer than a week now, like a kid anxious for Santa.
Twittermas is bringing presents. Nice ones. At a price of $26/share, the IPO should fetch Twitter (TWTR) $1.8 billion. But that's for just 10% of the equity. Co-founder Evan Williams, who launched Blogger a decade ago, will become a billionaire. Another co-founder, Jack Dorsey, who has since helped found Square, should get a half-billion.
Now, is Twitter really worth more than Macy's (M) or Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBY)? Of course not. But that's not the point, my friend. The idea behind an IPO is to get as much as possible for the company selling the shares, and Goldman Sachs has run a clean, conservative road show, pushing all the buttons Wall Street likes to see pushed.
The idea is that the shares will leave the brokers who lined up early, like geeks outside a Mac store, and then go out to smaller investors at a premium. What happens after that is anyone's guess, and in some ways it doesn't matter, because the dealers will have all made their money by noon today.
According to the amended S-1 filed last month, Twitter brought in $422 million in the first nine months of the year, 106% ahead of last year's $205 million, and seems on-pace to approach $600 million, mostly from ads of various kinds. The cost of that revenue is listed at $154 million, just 36% of the total.