Twitter shares fell sharply on Thursday, dipping below their IPO price of $26. The sell-off started three weeks ago when co-founder and interim chief executive Jack Dorsey told investors that a re-acceleration in the user growth rate will take some time.
Twitter below its IPO price
Though analysts lauded Dorsey’s candidness, it seems investors were not impressed. The constant outflow of key executives and no permanent CEO in sight have also pushed the stock down.
Sentiment on Twitter is in stark contrast to the time of the company’s IPO, when the social media firm was seen as a high-growth stock with the capability of being the next Facebook. But much to the dismay of all, the micro-blogging firm has not been able to keep pace with expectations. It’s not that the firm has not tried to come out of its troubles. It has introduced several new features and shuffled its product and engineering leadership, but it’s all been in vain so far.
Last month, the company said its user base was up to 316 million worldwide, which was up only 2 million from the last quarter, while the U.S. numbers were almost flat. For the last quarter, the micro-blogging firm posted revenue of $502 million and a profit of 7 cents a share. A recent study from Pew Research Center found that the micro-blogging is lagging rivals like Instagram and Pinterest. The report indicated that 72% of Americans who are online use Facebook, while Twitter’s percentage is similar to last year’s level of 23%.
Getting more attractive for buyout
On Thursday, Twitter stock was down 5.8% to close at $26, while the S&P 500 Index was down 2.1%. Shares of the micro-blogging firm fell as low as $25.92 at one time. Year to date, the stock is down 28%. Twitter shares rebounded last week for a brief time after Dorsey bought over 31,000 shares to boost investors’ confidence.
The further decline in the share price could make the company a more attractive takeover target. One catalyst that can give some hope is a new permanent CEO. But the board is still not over with its search. Dorsey is seen by many as an apt candidate, but he also runs Square, which he may not be able to leave as the digital payment firm is planning an IPO, says a report from Bloomberg, which cites sources familiar with the matter.