TWITTER IPO LIVE: Strong market debut for Twitter

Sunday - 11/10/2013, 4:42pm EST

A man walks his dogs past the New York Stock Exchange prior to the Twitter IPO, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 in New York. Twitter set a price of $26 per share for its initial public offering on Wednesday evening and will begin trading Thursday under the ticker symbol "TWTR" in the most highly anticipated IPO since Facebook's 2012 debut. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Twitter had a strong public stock debut Thursday in the most highly anticipated initial public offering since Facebook's last year.

The stock closed at $44.90 on its first day of trading, giving Twitter a value of more than $31 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock that'll be available after the IPO. It opened at $45.10 and traded as high as $50.09 in the morning. Although the closing price fell 20 cents short of the opening price, it's still 73 percent above the $26 IPO price.

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.

Twitter is trading under the ticker symbol "TWTR."

Here's a running account of Twitter's first day of trading, presented in reverse chronological order. All times are EST.

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-- 5 p.m.: Big payday for @Twitter co-founders @Jack, @ev and CEO @dickc

At the closing price of $44.90, Evan Williams' stake in the company is worth $2.6 billion. He emerged as Twitter's largest shareholder when he bought the service for an undisclosed amount through a company called Obvious, which he owns.

Jack Dorsey, currently its chairman, has a stake worth $1.05 billion.

Dick Costolo, who became CEO in 2010 and groomed the company for its stock debut, owns a stake worth $345 million.

-- Michael Liedtke, San Francisco, @liedtkesfc

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-- 4:55 p.m.: Sure, @Twitter had strong #IPO, but what exactly is it? AP's Scott Mayerowitz @GlobeTrotScott explains: http://bit.ly/HIKnsc

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-- 4:45 p.m.: Even with first day of trading finished, there's debate over @Twitter start. #ecstasy&agony

Twitter's stock market debut represents another moment of glory for Chairman Jack Dorsey and a cruel reminder of what might have been for its exiled co-founder, Noah Glass.

The former colleagues have vastly different accounts about how Twitter got its start.

Dorsey says he conceived the concept for Twitter on a San Francisco playground, drawing upon his fascination with dispatch systems for taxis, bike messengers and emergency services. Glass credits Dorsey with having a vague idea about how to share status, but asserts it didn't turn into Twitter until the two of them spent several hours bantering in a car on the rain-slickened streets of San Francisco after a night of drinking.

Glass was never given any credit in the documents leading up to Twitter's IPO, perhaps because he didn't end up staying at the company for very long. He was forced out well before Twitter began to gain mainstream appeal in a coup detailed in a new book about the company. He wasn't at Thursday's debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dorsey, 36, doesn't come off well in the book, but he can still find solace in the wealth that he will reap from Twitter's success. He has a 4.3 percent stake in the company.

Glass, 43, apparently left Twitter with little, if any, stock. He now lives with his 7-month-old daughter and the baby's mother in a small San Francisco house located about a half-mile away from the intersection where he says he hatched Twitter with Dorsey on a drunken evening nearly eight years ago. That memory still lives on the Internet at http://bit.ly/fMY6sx .

His home on Thursday: http://pic.twitter.com/2DduLFRbNZ

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/founders-differ-tale-twitters-creation

-- Michael Liedtke, San Francisco, @liedtkesfc

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-- 4:25 p.m.: @Twitter stock debuts strong, even as @AP @CNBC poll released earlier showed skepticism.

Twitter's stock had a strong first-day showing. It's worth noting that it faced skepticism from potential investors and the broader public leading to Thursday's debut.

According to an Associated Press-CNBC poll released Monday, some 36 percent of Americans say buying stock in the 7-year-old company would be a good investment, while 47 percent disagree. Last May, ahead of Facebook's IPO, 51 percent of Americans said Facebook Inc. would be a good investment. Just 31 percent didn't agree.

That said, 64 percent of the people polled said they don't own stocks, bonds or mutual funds at all.

Twitter has not turned a profit since its launch, but its future depends on advertisements as a primary source of income.

It does not bode well that more than half of Twitter users say they have not noticed advertising. Among the 42 percent of users who did notice, 31 percent say they've clicked on or followed one of the promoted items in question.

The Associated Press-CNBC telephone poll was conducted Oct. 25 to 27 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications among 1,006 U.S. adults. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. According to Twitter, 77 percent of its 232 million monthly visitors are outside of the U.S.

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