This is an open letter from IPOVillage.com founder Howard Orloff to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo encouraging Twitter to pass on a traditional IPO in favor of a DPO.
With Twitter now seriously considering going public, you need to give thought to how you plan to do this. Taking the traditional way, working through a fleet of lawyers, brokers and investment banks has worked for a lot of companies, but it has also cost them a lot of money.
If Twitter takes the traditional route, it’s going to cost the company $150 million or more in discounts to the investment banks, lawyer fees and percentages paid to people who run the deal.
Mr. Costolo, that’s $150 million or more Twitter will never see.
Look at it this way. Your company is forecasting at least $1 billion in sales by 2014. $150 million is 15 percent of that expected revenue. Are you really willing to hand 15 percent of Twitter’s expected income over to a group of people who have done nothing to help your company?
Twitter holds a very special position in the world of mass communication. Twitter is powered by ordinary citizens across the world. Tweets by people are now major news. Twitter has already been cited as a significant source of information in countries where political strife has turned violent.
Mr. Costolo, Twitter is the everyman. It is the average person walking down the street with a smartphone. It is people who send a notice about the birth of a child and people who send a picture about government forces attacking rebels. It is politicians making missteps and touting their platform.
Mr. Costolo, Twitter is true mass media.
Since the masses are the people who make Twitter what it is, let the masses also share in the bounty that Twitter will produce. Let them share directly in the profits. Let them invest directly in the company that is now such an important part of their life.
By offering investment access in Twitter through a DPO (Direct Public Offering), you have the opportunity to change capital finance to the same extent Twitter has changed the way the world communicates.
Take the Twitter IPO direct. Don’t lose $150 million to consultants, huge Wall Street banks and lawyers. Keep that money for the company. Don’t let these consultants and investment banks set the price for Twitter only to see the price plummet as Facebook’s stock price did.
Let the masses, the very people who have made Twitter into a global success, have direct participation. Let them buy stock direct, no middle man, no waiting until huge investment houses have made a profit (and kept Twitter from receiving that money).
Mr. Costolo, you owe the people who make Twitter what it is the chance to get in on the ground floor of the company. Let them invest direct. Let them reap the profits and let Twitter gather as much from the IPO as it can.