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Twitter has set a price range of $17 to $20 per share for its initial public offering and says it could raise as much as $1.6 billion in the process. The pricing is relatively conservative considering that Twitter is poised to pull off the year’s hottest IPO.

At the $20 share price, Twitter’s market value would be around $12.5 billion, roughly one-tenth of Facebook’s current valuation. Twitter’s value is based on 625.2 million outstanding shares expected after the offering, including restricted stock units and stock options.

The company’s valuation is conservative. Some analysts had expected the figure to be as high as $20 billion. Back in August Twitter priced some of its employee stock options at $20.62, based on an appraisal by an investment firm.

Twitter’s caution suggests that the company learned from Facebook’s rocky initial public offering last year. Rather than set expectations too high, Twitter is playing it safe and will very likely raise its price range closer to the IPO, and thus fuel demand.

Last week, Twitter disclosed that it lost $65 million in the third quarter, three times as much as in the same period a year earlier. It was the company’s biggest quarterly loss since 2010. Founded in 2006, Twitter has never posted a profit, but its revenue is growing. Revenue for the latest quarter more than doubled from the same period last year, to nearly $169 million.

The IPO has been long expected. The company has been adding to its arsenal of advertising products and working to boost ad revenue in preparation. Still, it’s ad revenue is small compared with Facebook. Twitter says it has more than 230 million monthly users, compared with Facebook’s roughly 1.2 billion.

 

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