Few expected Twitter's (NYSE:TWTR) shares to jump 73 percent following its initial public offering on the NYSE on Thursday, especially not after the debacle that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) encountered as it launched in May 2012 on the error-plagued Nasdaq.
In the lead-up to Facebook’s IPO, it was thought each share would be worth between $28-$35, with some investors even talking of something in the $40 region. Investors waded in heavily to avoid missing out on the gains that were made by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Linkedin (NYSE:LNKD) in the past. The media referred to the day as a “cultural touchstone,” so it was surprise when the price quickly bombed to $26.81 after the first week.
Thursday’s IPO of Twitter would see no repeat. But why?
“Investors and exchanges learned many lessons about what to do and what not to do,” wrote Adam Sarhan of Sarhan Capital in an email to the International Business Times. “It is very possible that if Twitter [went] public last year it would have been received much differently.”
In many respects, Facebook was in a similar position to the one in which Twitter finds itself now, with the exception that Facebook has demonstrated its ability to monetize, something Twitter has struggled with recently. However, the major difference is that Twitter’s still attracting new users at a fast pace, giving advertisers a greater pool to work with and generating greater revenues. But the surge in price shows how individual investors have kept faith with social media rather than be scared off by Facebook’s IPO.
“It’s important to note that the social media group is acting well and has proven itself as a group. When FB came public their ability to monetize their service was still unproven. So investor appetite now for the social media space is larger than it was when FB IPO'd,” said Sarhan.
Those who were burned by Facebook’s troubled start largely stayed away from Twitter, leaving the door open to new investors who understand and like the company, said Dan Greenshields, president of online brokerage Capital One ShareBuilder in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal.
His company saw new accounts triple on Thursday, with Twitter representing about 25 percent of all orders that day. He also said that few were deterred by the $45 price tag.
"Retail investors are not buying it for valuation reasons," said Greenshields. "The same comments were made about Google at its launch, and now it's ten times higher.”
Fidelity investors also reported a surge in new accounts -- around the 40 percent mark.
“There are several differences between Facebook and Twitter,” said Sarhan. “First, it is still early and very possible that Twitter falls significantly from here over the next few months, just like so many of its peers, like Groupon (NYSE:GRPN), Facebook, Yelp (NYSE:YELP), etc.”
Facebook was also hampered by a series of technology problems on Nasdaq, part of the reason why Twitter opted for the NYSE, according to a number of news reports.