San Francisco - Twitter has filed confidentially for an initial public offering, the company said on Thursday, taking the first step towards what would be Silicon Valley's most anticipated debut since Facebook's last year.
The impending IPO of the microblogging phenomenon ignited a competition among Wall Street's biggest names for the prestige of managing its coming-out party. Goldman Sachs is an underwriter, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Twitter's IPO, though much smaller than Facebook's, could still generate tens of millions of dollars in fees from the underwriting mandate itself. Assuming the company sells around 10% of its shares, or $1bn, underwriters could stand to divide a fee pool of $40m to $50m, assuming an overall fee cut of 4% to 5%, according to Freeman & Co.
But benefits for banks that underwrite the deal would likely be far-reaching.
"Some companies will say: 'We liked the way you handled Twitter, and we want to come to you first when we do our IPO,'" said David Menlow, president of IPOFinancial.com.
"It's not only bragging rights," Menlow said. "It's getting through the front door, which will line up banks for other transactions done after that, like debt financings and M&A."
Twitter, which has been valued by private investors at more than $10bn, is on track to post $583m in revenue in 2013, according to advertising consultancy eMarketer.
Under the 2012 JOBS Act that eased securities regulations, companies may file to go public without disclosing certain financial records. But companies that choose to file confidentially must meet certain criteria, including annual revenue of less than $1bn.