Twitter Sets IPO Price

Twitter goes public at $26 per share on Thursday. That's up from an earlier planned offering in the $17 to $20 range — and it may signal increased demand from institutional investors like hedge funds. Twitter is valued at just over $18 billion even though it has never turned a profit.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Twitter's market debut.

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MONTAGNE: The New York stock exchange has been at the center of attention this morning. Twitter sold millions of shares at $26 a pop. And those shares started trading on the market today at $45 a piece. The company is expected to raise almost two billion dollars. NPR's Zoe Chace joins us now from New York. And Zoe - well, we've got a little moment. But what happened? What did it look like there?

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Well, what happened is that a lot of people have doubled their money, right. They got the stock price at - you know they got the stock at 26 and they turned around and sold it for 45, maybe 46, maybe 47, it was almost 50. I mean, that looks good when something like that happens for Twitter, because it makes Twitter look just kind of, you know, just popular and cool. But it also means that the company could have, maybe, raised some more money for itself. So...

MONTAGNE: Sold its stock for more, basically, than it set its price at. So things are obviously going better for Twitter, by far, than they went for Facebook.

CHACE: So far. I mean Facebook tried to sell so many shares on its first day and it went out on the NASDAQ. And the NASDAQ basically clogged up and couldn't handle all the orders at this price. And the stock price ended up dropping below what Facebook had hoped, and it was just - I mean Facebook, you know, the Facebook people made money but it just didn't look good. And it took almost a year for the Facebook price to recover. Twitter, if the day keeps going the way it's been going, you know, it has a lot of, sort of, hype to live up to at this point. Twitter is not a profitable company, so it might be a little bit hard for them to fulfill their promise that they're making.

MONTAGNE: Well, in a word or maybe two, what is the plan to make Twitter profitable?

CHACE: Ads. Lots of ads.

MONTAGNE: OK - in two words. Twitter goes public. NPR's Zoe Chace. Thanks very much.

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