Twitter’s Williams in line for biggest IPO jackpot
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams could take home the biggest jackpot once the company goes public.
Williams, who was Twitter’s CEO for two years until Dick Costolo took over in 2010, owns a 12 percent stake in the company. If Twitter turns out to be worth at least $17.60 per share, the initial public offering will make Williams a billionaire at 41 years old.
San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. unsealed its IPO documents on Thursday and said it intends to raise up to $1 billion in the offering. The figure could change as the bankers managing the deal gauge interest from investors.
Although Williams is no longer chief executive, he remains on Twitter’s board of directors. Another board member, Peter Fenton, and his venture capital firm, Benchmark Capital, own a 6.7 percent stake in the company.
Next in line with a 4.9 percent stake is Jack Dorsey, who came up for the idea for Twitter with Noah Glass and Biz Stone. The stakes of Glass and Stone aren’t listed in the IPO documents, meaning they don’t own enough stock to trigger legal disclosures.
Glass came up with the original name “Twttr” in a reference to chirping birds. Despite his early involvement in Twitter, Glass was never promoted as one of the company’s founders along with Dorsey, Stone and Williams.
Other investors who own at least a 5 percent stake in Twitter include private investment firm Rizvi Traverse, which backed Hugh Hefner’s successful bid to take Playboy private two years ago, as well as Spark Capital, Benchmark Capital Partners and Union Square Ventures. DST Global, a London-based investment firm founded by Russian investor Yuri Milner, is another stakeholder. DST, which focuses its investments on Internet companies, was pre-IPO investor in Facebook.
Many of Twitter’s 2,000 employees could become rich, too. They won’t be allowed to sell their stock until Feb. 15, at the earliest.
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