Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ask Matt: Can I get shares of the Twitter IPO?

USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at

Q: Can I get shares of the Twitter IPO?

A: The IPO gold rush is back on, and this time, investors are hoping for a piece of Twitter.

Twitter, the popular online messaging service, is expected to sell shares to the public for the first time this week. Interest is especially high in this deal since Twitter is a service commonly used by many people who tend to also buy stocks. The initial price range set by the company also was set low, making some investors think the stock could pop on its first day.

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But that changed Monday. The company boosted its expected price range from $17 to $20 a share to $23 to $25. That gives the company a value of between roughly $13 billion and $17 billion, depending on how investors count the company's shares outstanding. Investors expected the company to be worth $15 billion before the IPO.

With the offering price being moved up, it's now likely that some large institutional investors might take a pass on the shares. And that means more shares will be made available to investors. Traditionally, underwriters might make about 20% of a deal's shares available to regular investors.

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If you're a customer of the investment banks leading the deal, including Goldman Sachs, you can check with your broker to see if you can buy shares. Otherwise, large online brokers like TD Ameritrade and Fidelity might make shares available. Just be careful, though. IPOs are infamously difficult to time and sometimes the easy money doesn't pan out as planned.

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