Twitter shares rocket on debut

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 November, 2013, 1:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 November, 2013, 1:58am

Twitter stock soared 92 per cent in their first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange as investors snapped up shares in the microblogging site, pushing its market value to a heady US$25 billion.

The shares opened at US$45.10 a share, up from the initial public offering price of US$26 set on Wednesday, then added to those gains, hitting a high of US$50 till reports last came in.

Sources said the flotation had drawn strong demand, with investors asking for 30 times the number of shares on offer as they bet on potential growth at the social media company. The opening price valued the shares at about 22 times forecast 2014 sales, nearly double that multiple at Facebook and LinkedIn.

Twitter executives including chief executive Dick Costolo and founder Jack Dorsey thronged to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to witness the IPO. The Big Board snatched the offering away from Nasdaq after the normally tech-focused Nasdaq stumbled with the larger Facebook flotation last year.

"Facebook was so overhyped," said Kenneth Polcari, a senior floor official at O'Neil Securities. "Twitter isn't like that, though you can feel the excitement."

British actor Patrick Stewart rang the opening bell at the exchange together with nine-year-old Vivienne Harr, who started a charity to end childhood slavery using the microblogging site.

"I guess I represent the poster boy for Twitter," Stewart said, adding he had only been tweeting for about a year.

Twitter's building staff opened its offices in San Francisco extra early, at 5.30am. By 7.30am, hundreds of employees had flocked to their ninth floor cafeteria to watch Stewart ring the opening bell on TV.