The 5 Twitter IPO Angles: Facebook, Pinterest, GSV, LinkedIn, ETFs

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The initial public offering of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) is scheduled to price late on Wednesday and begin trading on Thursday. Everyone in the world has heard about this IPO (to death), and the last time there was this much of a frenzy for a hot IPO goes back to Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB).

The latest price talk is that Twitter’s IPO will price between $25 and $28 per share as demand is through the roof from prospective investors. The prior expectation was $23 to $25 per share, and that had been raised from a range of $17 to $20 per share.

What is further helping to drive this high demand is that the total number of shares being offered is very small compared to the fully diluted share count. The figure of 70 million shares is large by most comparisons, but this will compare to some 544,696,816 shares outstanding after the IPO. That is less than 13% of the stock coming public out of the chute.

24/7 Wall St. has seen five different angles for investors to evaluate Twitter. Some of these may even have a Twitter investment angle themselves as you will see.

A first concern is that Twitter’s valuation is now perhaps even more than the historic value of Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) if this last price bump holds true. Everyone is turning in larger orders than they ever have hope of getting delivery on. The one difference for sure is that Twitter decided to opt for a NYSE IPO rather than a NASDAQ IPO. We could have predicted as much, and the NYSE testing was shown to be ample for the trading demand on the dry run. Facebook is valued at 59-times expected 2013 earnings and valued at about 44-times expected 2014 earnings.

An angle which you cannot invest in yet nor which has a public stock angle is Pinterest. We had heard that Pinterest was raising more cash in recent weeks ahead of Twitter’s IPO. Now we have confirmation that the FORM D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows the final amount raised was $224,999,956. Call it $225 million for short. We doubted at the time we saw the financing that there was a coincidence that Pinterest was using Twitter’s strength and IPO as cover.

A third angle to consider is the business development company GSV Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: GSVC). This is public and it owns a slug of Twitter shares. Its recent peak was $16.90 and the shares were recently down at $15.60. This stock rose into the Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) IPO as well, only to roll over as Facebook’s shares did. The portfolio update from GSV on October 3 showed the following: Twitter, Inc. was shown to have a fair value of GSV Capital investment of $37.6 million, or about 15.1% of net assets at the time. If the IPO price has risen, so has that value. Another hot upcoming IPO of Chegg, Inc. was shown to have a fair value of GSV investment of $14.0 million, worth some 5.6% of net assets. Be advised that this stock has doubled since mid-summer, and shares fell rapidly from $18 down to $10 after the Facebook IPO.

A fourth angle we would consider is LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD). This social network has to be brought up as well. Its IPO was conducted on the NYSE rather than NASDAQ. It also went public with a small float. LinkedIn has backed off of its highs by about 10% since earnings, and it is still worth a whopping 100-times expected 2014 earnings with a $26.5 billion market cap.

The fifth angle here for the Twitter IPO is that there are two key exchange traded fund considerations. The first ETF is the Global X Social Media Index ETF (NYSEMKT: SOCL) ETF. At $19.41 its peak was at $21.15, but it will not own Twitter shares immediately. It does not buy shares of a post-IPO company until after a company comes public. Also, only half of its portfolio holdings are U.S.-based companies. This second ETF is the Renaissance IPO ETF (NYSEMKT: IPO), but this ETF does not take stakes in post-IPO companies until after the fifth day of trading. Some investors may chase these two ETFs thinking they are getting Twitter exposure, but they may not be getting that exposure immediately as they expected. Caveat emptor.

The Twitter IPO is almost here. Then maybe the markets can move on to whatever is beyond that.

UPDATED… Sterne Agee’s Arvind Bhatia, has updated his relative valuation of Twitter (TWTR) based on the new price range. The Twitter valuation ranges with actual dollar values and multiples have been provided by the research firm below.

Twitter valuation range
Source: Sterne Agee

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