Investors should pass on Twitter for now

The microblogging site comes up short compared with larger rival Facebook.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 7, 2013 10:50AM
By Jonathan Berr

Is a company like Twitter (TWTR), which hasn’t earned a nickel in profits, really worth $12 billion? Sometime before the end of the year, investors will get to answer that question.

If investors went by the traditional measure of stock’s worth, which is a company's earnings, the answer would be an easy "no." Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, lost more than $68 million in the six months ended June 30. Growth is also slowing, another huge red flag for investors.

The microblogging site had 218 million monthly users as of June, up 44% from last year. While that sounds impressive, it’s below last year’s 78% gain. Twitter expects its revenue growth to slow in the future as user growth declines. It wasn’t more specific.

The company’s accumulated deficit of more than $418 million is another cause for concern, as are its mushrooming costs. For instance, as of June 30, Twitter had about 2,000 employees, a gain of more than 1,800 since January 2010.  

Investors may also find its earnings power lacking compared with rival Facebook (FB).Businesswomen looking at laptops © LWA, Larry Williams, Blend Images, Getty Images

That social network earns an average of $1.60 in revenue for each of its 1.1 billion monthly active users, exceeding Twitter’s average of 64 cents per user. Facebook also is profitable and exceeded analysts’ expectations in the last quarter. Facebook shares have also been on fire, more than doubling in the last three months.

Not surprisingly, Twitter is heavily dependent on advertising, which is responsible for more than 80% of its annual revenue. Though some may argue that Twitter is a "one-trick pony," naysayers have said the same thing about Google and the search engine giant seems to be doing just fine.

Getting back to valuation, by Twitter’s logic it's worth more than Macy's (M), Burger King (BKW) and The New York Times (NYT) combined. Although all of those venerable companies face plenty of challenges, they are nonetheless profitable. So how is Twitter more valuable? At first blush, it doesn't make much sense. But stock markets, though, run on faith more than logic.   

But even if you think that Twitter’s potential is limitless, the time isn’t right to buy this stock given the huge hype around the IPO. It’s not clear whether the right time will be in a week, a month or a year. 

Until that day arrives, people should tweet to their heart’s content and see how the company responds to the many challenges it faces.

And that's Killer Companies.

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Oct 7, 2013 12:08PM
The Fed giving free money to the banks and wall street . Who will pay for this ??
Oct 7, 2013 1:24PM

I don't understand the Facebook craze this is nothing more then Myspace..


 You all left Myspace because of the ads but Facebook is more of an ad base then Myspace ever was but yet you all cling to it like it was your life.


 Let go step outside go see your family instead of Facebooking..


  Soon there will no need for life....

Oct 7, 2013 12:11PM
twitter isn't worth 2 cents in all REALITY and everyone knows it, more trash for the gov't to peruse through to locate and find individuals to spy on them and follow their every move, and the people are more than happy to oblige!! how crazy do you have to be to put your 'life' out there into public view! pathetic really...
Oct 7, 2013 12:49PM
What??? Pass on Twitter for now?? I can't believe I'm reading this: a market shill advising to pass on yet another non-existing non-product with no practical usefulness at all. Well there is a sign of the times right there.
Oct 7, 2013 12:13PM
And they probably hide 1/2 of it in offshore accounts and will never be taxed. But that is not the reason our country is going down the tube (no way). And you never hear congress, the house, or even the president say anything about the coporate scum that is killing our country. Almost like they own a percentage of its income. Things that make ya go hmm
Oct 7, 2013 11:49AM
Successful IPOs can turn companies losing millions into companies making billions. That's the beauty of having Stock to use as Ponzi Styled Cash Dollars. It's just a matter if they make the right buys with those new found dollars.
Oct 7, 2013 7:11PM

The only people who should buy Twitter are people who want to make money.It will

be a moonshot.

Oct 7, 2013 2:33PM
LMFAO anyone sniff another facebook drop coming? They just announced yesterday that OUR POLICE are following all of our tweets. While anyone with half a brain knows, that is a social media site, we are dealing with the same people that voted in Obozo. People were cancelling their accounts and in a panic yesterday. Invest somewhere else. 
Oct 7, 2013 2:21PM

In less than 6 weeks...The "stated value" of the New IPO has jumped 50% from $1 Billion to $1.5 Billion and that to me, is enough warning "right up front."


Even if I can or could get shares, it's a pass for us...

I'm not going fatten any more pockets of millionaires and a couple billionaires..

Pump and dump until your heart's content.

Oct 7, 2013 2:40PM

On the day of the IPO in November?


I wonder how many "astute investors" will be buying TWTRQ instead of TWTR....??

That will be a hoot....

Didn't think they usually come out with the listing symbol, this early before an IPO??

Oct 7, 2013 2:20PM

If TWTRQ is worth $0.15 as some buyers seemed to think last Friday, then TWTR could easily be worth a trillion dollars. It’s all relative you see in the land of infinite money printing, where the magicians on Wall Street pull $10,000,000,000 rabbits out of $10,000,000,000 hats every day.

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