Twitter IPO: Firm In Stock Market Launch Bid
Twitter has confirmed plans for a stock market flotation, the most hotly anticipated in the technology sector since Facebook started offering shares last year.
The announcement was made on the site itself and explained that a form had been submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of a planned initial public offering (IPO).
The San Francisco-based firm has become one of the fastest-growing and most influential social media companies in the world, used widely by celebrities, journalists and others.
The Wall Street Journal has estimated the company is worth as much as $10bn (£6.3bn).
The company said earlier this year it had "well over 200 million" active users, although some tech experts say the figure is much higher.
Website analysts Statistic Brain estimates it has 554 million active users, and is adding 135,000 users every day.
Twitter, which was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in 2006, has been ramping up its advertising products and working hard to boost revenue in preparation for its long-expected float.
This week, it said it was moving deeper into mobile phone advertising with the purchase of MoPub, a start-up firm focusing on mobile advert exchanges.
The deal was estimated to be worth around $350m (£230m), according to technology news site TechCrunch.
Twitter is expected to earn $582.8m (£390m) in advertising revenue this year, and nearly $1bn (£670m) next year, according to industry tracker eMarketer.
Facebook's $16bn (£9.87bn) stock market flotation took place in May last year.
Its shares are up 18.7% from their IPO price of $38 a share.
Twitter has not provided any details about the IPO dates or pricing.
It is taking advantage of a rule adopted last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which allows "emerging growth" companies with revenues of less than a billion to keep financial details confidential until they get closer to the IPO.
Under those rules, Twitter can keep its financial details private until 21 days prior to its presentation to investors, known as a "road show".
But Trip Chowdhry, analyst at Global Equities Research, said Twitter is undermining confidence by keeping its finances private.
"The idea of doing a confidential IPO undermines the credibility of the Twitter IPO," he said. "If they are not transparent, it is that they have something to hide; we know nothing of how their company has been going for the last two years."