The Twitter IPO is already a huge success -- for Goldman Sachs

The huge jump in Twitter's opening share price means Wall Street's usual suspects are already grabbing huge profits

By Andrew Leonard
Published November 7, 2013 9:34PM (UTC)
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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, left, co-founder Biz Stone, center, and Amir Movafaghi, right, Twitter's Director of Treasury and Strategic Finance, applaud as shares begin trading in their IPO, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Nov. 7, 2013. (AP/Richard Drew)

Trading in Twitter shares opened with a bang, at a price of $45.10, or about $19 higher than the original IPO valuation of $26 per share. In the blink of an eye, Twitter reached a market capitalization of $33 billion.

Since the ostensible purpose of an IPO is to raise cash for the company going public, one could well ask whether Twitter and its investment bankers set the initial IPO price too low. The difference between 26 and 45 is billions of dollars in profits that are now being cashed in by the clients of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan lucky enough to get in at the bottom floor of the IPO. A higher initial valuation would have sent billions more dollars directly to Twitter, presumably to be used for accelerating the march to world social media domination. So a sane world might consider the crazy 73 percent jump in Twitter's share price to be a failure, not a success.


Or maybe that's naive. The positive press generated by a good-looking IPO will likely make it easier for Twitter to raise more money in the future, should it so desire. And as far as Twitter's underwriters, and most acutely, Twitter's existing investors, are concerned, this IPO is everything they ever hoped it could be. The headlines will be adoring, and the champagne corks are already popping.

Here's a Vine posted by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, from the trading floor.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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