Mission of Transparency Undermined By Twitter’s Secret IPO
Twitter is demanding respect without giving any in exchange because it has chosen the path taken by elite investors instead of the truly public viewing. This is not a company that would typically be identified with the act of stealing. The CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo regards it as a worldwide or global town square. This is because 400 tweets take place in a day that covers various aspects ranging between personal feuds, twerking controversies and revolutions. If people wish to publicize something, they should take it to Twitter. However, the company itself has made the choice of going undercover when it is going public.
As per the Jobs Act, a company that has revenues less than $1 billion has the privilege of filing a ‘confidential’ initial public offering. Twitter is opting for that privilege. This means that people don’t really know when Twitter made the decision of going public because it is keeping the IPO confidential. The social messaging site could go public in three months or even seven months. But, this isn’t a great choice for a company that earns its fortune by applying time stamps on instant communication. It is perfectly legal for a company to choose the Job Acts Secrecy, but it doesn’t hold true for the spirit with which Twitter conducts its business.
It is a major fail when one of the most prominent communications companies decide to go for a secret IPO. The purpose of introducing the Jobs Act was to prevent small startup companies and business to be intimated by the huge public market. It wasn’t introduced for allowing international companies such as Twitter, which are under public scrutiny to choose this option for avoiding any discomfort with facing their finances. For Twitter, a confidential IPO is not a good choice at all. This process is called the ‘roadshow’.
It also means that the public will not have any access to the history, business plans, documents and finances of the company until it finally chooses to issue shares to large institutional investors. Only elite investors can be part of the IPO and this procedure is conducted by banks to discover how much the large investors are willing to pay for Twitter. Later, the price offered to the public will be influenced by this research. But, the public will have no news or access unless there is a leak. Instead, they will be relying on rumor and speculation.
The whole process of going ‘public’ is undermined in this manner. The purpose of going public is to allow the public to discuss the company, examine it and debate on it. However, what Twitter is asking is that the public give it the same respect as is given to the public company and also the rich valuation that’s demanded by the internet stocks. But, the company is refusing to give the same respect to the public. They will not be aware of what they are buying. Twitter is not a startup, but it has to confront its finances and do so publicly.