/// Ahead of July Filing, Twitter IPO Designed as "Less Anti-Facebook Than Anti-Old-Twitter"

September 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital


Did you know Twitter actually filed its IPO documents in mid-July? Or that an investment firm run by Suhail Rizvi will be one of the bigger shareholders listed when its regulatory documents go public? Or that the float for the IPO will be much smaller than Wall Street expects, because few current investors are selling into it? No, you don’t, which was the goal of the once out-of-control company so well known for its myriad of foibles that one major rival had described as a “clownmobile that crashed into a goldmine.” No longer, it seems — except, it is hoped by Twitter, for the goldmine part. To get there, in interviews with more than two dozen sources familiar with the Twitter IPO process, the famous online communications company has opted for one what person dubbed a “containment strategy.” That meant a filing in mid-July with the Securities and Exchange Commission using the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act, that allowed Twitter to keep it under wraps. There was no public announcement until this month, an effort to file in such a way as to minimize disruption to the company and maximize control by its managers and board. The ultimate goal, said those with knowledge of the situation, was to finally banish the image of the loosey-goosey Twitter of old, with its leaky board, its constant service crashes and its dramatic proclivity to show off all its growing pains in public. “Like the service, the aim was to make the Twitter IPO as simple as possible,” said one person familiar with the situation. “While everyone wants to compare it to trying to avoid the circus around the Facebook IPO, it’s really less anti-Facebook than anti-old Twitter.” Said another person close to the company: “We had been everyone’s doormat for far too long, but a transformation did happen and this IPO process reflects that perfectly.” Among the many ways that was done include the severe limiting of information around the process to the board and several others, in an effort orchestrated by key managers. This tight circle includes: CEO Dick Costolo, COO Ali Rowghani and CFO Mike Gupta, with some critical help from Twitter’s most IPO-experienced director, Peter Currie. Along with the rest of the board, which meets every other month for two days, the group plotted the IPO over a much longer time period, a process that included taking the pressure of possible selling by early investors and employees.

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Ahead of July Filing, Twitter IPO Designed as "Less Anti-Facebook Than Anti-Old-Twitter"



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