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In what will likely be the largest initial public offering since Facebook's botched debut on NASDAQ in 2012, Twitter announced in a tweet late Thursday that it has filed its paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a publicly traded company.
Founded in 2006 as a way for small groups to keep in touch by text, Twitter has ballooned in popularity as a way for friends and strangers to follow each others' thoughts through 140-character messages. The service counts 200 million active monthly accounts as of February 2013.
Early media reports that Twitter would file for an IPO this year hinted that the large, San Francisco-based startup wanted a "low profile" offering. On Thursday, Twitter said it would be filing its S-1 form with the SEC "confidentially." It followed up the announcement with a tweet indicating Twitter's employees will be focusing on its site.
Companies with less than $1 billion in revenue are permitted to file for IPOs confidentially under a new law passed known as the JOBS act.
Twitter, normally a tight-lipped company, is likely trying avoid the controversy that embroiled Facebook after its stock began public trading. First, a computer glitch on the day trading commenced prevented NASDAQ from processing many people's orders. Later, lead underwriter Morgan Stanley was accused of clueing preferred clients in to the fact that Facebook's stock may be overvalued. In total, more than 40 lawsuits have been filed against Facebook and NASDAQ.
After debuting at $38 per share, Facebook's stock dipped to a low of nearly $18 in just three months as investors worried whether ads on social networks made for a sustainable business. But since a series of solid earnings reports boosted confidence in the company, Facebook has climbed past its IPO price to more than $44 on Thursday.
Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg encouraged Twitter to enter the markets. "I've been very outspoken about staying private as long as possible. But in retrospect, I was too afraid of going public," Facebook's CEO said. "I don't think it's necessary to do that."