NEW YORK (AP) — It's been a busy morning on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange as Twitter prepares to start trading under the ticker symbol "TWTR." The NYSE has tested its systems, and the floor is busy with both traders and media. Twitter's trading debut is the most highly anticipated since Facebook's last year.
Twitter priced the initial public offering of stock at $26 per share, valuing the company at more than $18 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock that'll be available after the IPO. The pricing means the short messaging service will raise $1.8 billion in the offering, before expenses.
The high price comes despite the fact that Twitter has never turned a profit in seven years of existence. Revenue has been growing, but the company is also investing heavily in more data centers and hiring more employees.
Here's a running account of Twitter's first day of trading, presented in reverse chronological order. All times are EST.
— 9:05 a.m.: RT @KenSweet: Floor trader Kenneth Polcari thinks twitter's $26 share price is pretty fair. Doesn't expect it to double on the open.
— 8:50 a.m.: Busy morning at @nyse trading floor, reports AP's @kensweet
RT @KenSweet: Orders for Twitter have been coming in since 8 am, floor trader Jonathan Corpina tells me. Very busy.
RT @KenSweet: Corpina expects a smooth opening. The NYSE does IPOs all the time, he says. The difference here is volume and media attention.
RT @KenSweet: Traders use these handheld wireless computers to send orders. Paper orders ended a long time ago: pic.twitter.com/bwz8UK4xcB
— 8:40 a.m.: Why Twitter went to @nyse. Pressure is on with opening bell less than an hour away. #lessonsfromFB
Twitter chose to go public on the NYSE over the all-electronic Nasdaq. One of the reasons why Twitter likely chose the NYSE over the Nasdaq has to do with problems Facebook faced with its Nasdaq-listed IPO last year. A glitch in Nasdaq's trading software led to trading delays and order failures on Facebook's first day of trading.
The NYSE isn't taking any chances with Twitter. The exchange tested its trading software on Oct. 26 to prepare for Twitter's debut. If the NYSE faces technical problems with its ordering software, the exchange can switch over the traditional human-based stock trading that dominated Wall Street for decades.
RT @KenSweet: NYSE traders and execs are really playing up the human element to this IPO. It's a shot across the bow at the Nasdaq.
— Ken Sweet, New York, @kensweet
— 8:20 a.m.: AP markets reporter @KenSweet says media outnumber traders 5:1 @nyse trading floor
It's a media madhouse. But it's still more than an hour before the opening bell, so more traders should be coming. Expect a big crowd.
RT @KenSweet: The NYSE is decorated head to toe. with twitter logos. They went big here to promote: pic.twitter.com/pnwRQ9e6QG
— 8 a.m.: After #TwitterIPO pricing, market debut comes Thursday.
It should come as no surprise that Twitter used Twitter to announce its public stock debut.
It began with a tweet on Sept. 12: The 7-year-old company posted on its official Twitter account that it has "confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO." Details about offering emerged after the IPO documents were released publicly later.
On Oct. 24, Twitter set its IPO price target at $17 to $20 per share. It raised that to $23 and $25 per share, signaling an enthusiastic response from prospective investors. The actual price on Wednesday night was even higher, at $26. That bodes well for the company's stock when trading begins.
Twitter also took to Twitter to announce that price: https://twitter.com/twitter/status/398235511254298624/photo/1
The company is offering 70 million shares in the IPO, plus an option to buy another 10.5 million. If all shares are sold, the IPO will raise $2.09 billion, making it the biggest IPO for an Internet company since Facebook raised $16 billion last year.
Of course, Facebook made its debut with high hopes, only to see its stock fall below the IPO price by the second day of trading. Twitter has valued itself at just a fraction of Facebook and sought to cool expectations in the months and weeks leading up to the offering.