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Twitter to flog IPO shares at $26, eyes $2bn prize ... IBM will be pleased

TWTR to start trading Thursday as Big Blue threatens patent lawsuit

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Twitter has formally declared it'll flog its shares at $26 a pop on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

For its initial public offering (IPO), the microblogging titan said it will 70 million common shares of its stock to investors with a starting clip of $26 per share. The offering would net the company upwards of $2bn.

Trading in the company will begin at the opening of the exchange on Thursday morning, New York time, under the symbol TWTR. As one should expect, the news was broken on Twitter by Twitter:

The $26 price represents an even more optimistic valuation than Twitter itself had initially suggested. In an SEC filing this month the company said it was looking at a $23 to $25 range for its IPO, up significantly from a $17 to $20 target nary a month ago.

At the time it handed in its homework to the SEC, the company noted that it and its underwriters had seen an increased interest from perspective shareholders, prompting the biz to edge the asking price northward.

While Twitter has yet to actually overcome the pesky hurdle of turning an actual profit, the firm projects that in the next couple years it will find itself in the black to the tune of a couple hundred million dollars.

The pricing also reflects optimism at Twitter that the lawsuit filed this week by IBM alleging patent infringement will not impact the company nor cause investors to hesitate on meeting the IPO asking price. Big Blue is claiming Twitter steps on at least three of its own patents, and is seeking a settlement from the soon-to-be-rich tweet empire. Twitter has, by all indications, politely told IBM to go screw it.

The move could bring a windfall to Twitter employees (and real estate agents serving the ballooning San Francisco housing market) who stand to cash in on the company's long-awaited IPO. The offering has proven to be the most hotly anticipated since Facebook put itself onto the market in 2012 with decidedly mixed results. ®

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