All Posts in IPO

February 25, 2014Published by: Anton Perreau

Sina Weibo prepares for IPO



Last week's news of WhatsApp's purchase for $19bn it seems other social networks are preparing to raise funding for their future. Next up is Sina Weibo - the Chinese social network which is planning to go IPO on the New York Stock exchange later this year with a valuation of up to $7bn - $8bn according to The Financial Times.

For some time the Battenhall team have been working on campaigns which focus on key Chinese social networks like Weibo and WeChat. The experience of Weibo is much like a mix between Facebook and Twitter, with insight into how much a post is liked, or even read by it's 'concerns' (followers). The social network, 71% owned by the Sina corporation is hoping to raise around $500m in the second quarter of 2014.

Image from Quartz

However, as The FT explains, this listing doesn't come at the best time for Weibo - active users of microblogs in China fell by a tenth between 2012 and 2013, according to a recent report by a government-affiliated research group, thanks to increased competition from WeChat, and government censorship. Censorship is rife in China, with the government omitting anything alluding to slightly liberal language, as well as enforcing strong rules that all members must sign up with their actual names - hidden behind branding of 'The Real Name Social Network'.

Sina Weibo's future has become the battle ground for a war between Alibaba and Tencent. The fate of Weibo rests on how that battle plays out and essentially how some of Weibo's key competitors are funded. We'll be keeping a close eye on the final valuation of Weibo, which no doubt has been increased by the recent acquisition of WhatsApp. To read more about this news head to The Wall Street Journal.

November 7, 2013Published by: Drew

Some thoughts on our future with Twitter on IPO day

Courtesy of The Guardian

Right now Twitter is experiencing its first day as a public company, its shares trading on Wall Street and the world turning its gaze on the hottest tech ticket in town. I thought I would share some of my thoughts on Twitter's existence to date and the possibilities it could bring in the future.

My personal experience of Twitter goes way back to when it was first invented. I began using it in 2006, although I found it rather a blunt instrument back then... this tweet of mine from January 2007, the earliest one I can find online, shows the difficulty I had. But soon after that, it all began to catch on. For me at least.

You can see from as early as May 2007, I was a cheerleader for the new social network. I even said back then that I thought it had the potential to bring change to the social media landscape. Something that most around me that would tolerate my ramblings did not agree with for a good two years after...

Now there is no ignoring Twitter's impact on the way people, businesses and governments communicate, engage and transact. At present, Twitter's IPO has pegged the value of the company at around $31 billion, with shares 30 times oversubscribed opening at $45.10 and reaching highs of $50.  I won't go in-depth on the financials, there are plenty of markets experts who can do that (The Guardian is covering the IPO in a good live blog here). But I thought I would say a few things about Twitter's achievements to date and its potential in the future as a communications platform, as communications advisory is what I get paid to do for a job.

  • Twitter has fundamentally shifted how businesses communicate with the markets, with their customers and with the media. You can see in Battenhall's FTSE 100 Twitter report from September this year just how much. the disruption we are seeing around us due to Twitter and other social media is bringing huge amounts of change in good and bad ways for brands (for bad - think the social media crisis).
  • The way that Twitter opens up conversations to make messaging social has transformed how we want to keep in touch with one another, and you can see this across the board, from how celebrities engage with fans to how teens keep in touch with one another.
  • Brands want in on the action, and Twitter's advertising options are still in their infancy. Currently you can only advertise in the stream, in trending topics, in search results and under 'who to follow', none of which are obtrusive or obvious to many. We will see huge changes here in the future as Twitter flips the revenue switches.
  • To the beginner, Twitter is still not very easy to use. We should expect to see big changes here, as Twitter goes even more mainstream. Expect to see the way functions such as Lists, DMs, @replies and hashtags work change a great deal in the future.
  • Twitter should be seen as a new infrastructure, and not just a social network. Look at this way and you will see there is a lot more disruption to come. Already the service has changed communications amongst consumers and for brands and the media. What comes next will bring changes to all aspects of technology and digital in our day to day lives and in business. Just look at what some of Twitter's founders are up to now and you will get an idea of what's coming next.

Personally I am really excited about how Twitter, something that I once saw as a shiny new thing, is being seen on a huge platform as a force for good, for change and as a substantial business in its own right. I can see the future innovation that it will bring and I cant wait to see how the world will change with it.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

November 6, 2013Published by: Fereshta Amir

World domination: Twitter’s focus on international growth


Today Twitter launched a new India blog - a sign of its focus on international growth, fuelled by the fact that India is a huge market where English is the common denominator. As TechCrunch reports, one of the persistent themes in pre-IPO Twitter’s S-1 filings is that the company has more users outside of the U.S., but when it comes to making money, that shifts drastically — an issue problematic enough that Twitter spells it out in the prospectus as a warning about its business.

The launch of the India blog is Twitter's way of showing a commitment to ramping up its focus in the country by means of special, localised attention and could be a start of what is to come in other big and emerging markets. Twitter’s S-1 makes it clear that the upcoming challenge for the company is a pressing point:

If we fail to expand effectively in international markets, our revenue and our business will be harmed.

The focus in India is only a start: Twitter notes four countries where it will hire more sales and marketing people — Australia, Brazil, Ireland and the Netherlands, but interestingly not India! We can only wait and see if Twitter succeeds in its mission for world domination.

September 13, 2013Published by: Drew

Is Twitter set to become the hottest ticket in town?

Twitter IPO tweet

At 10pm last night UK time, Twitter's bosses sent out a tweet announcing something big. The company is going public, following in the footsteps of Facebook last year. With shares in Twitter due soon to go on the open market, you have to wonder, will Twitter become the hottest ticket in town?

If you speak to any teens today, they will tell you that indeed it will. Twitter has managed to pull off a coup with its now utterly mainstream user base. The next generation is fed up with Facebook, so I hear. They are all about Twitter. Whilst volume of users on Facebook still outstrips anything else, many brands with an eye on the future can see that Twitter is the big player now across all generations and demographics.

The coming weeks will be interesting for watching what Twitter does next. This piece in Business Week looks at how Twitter can seek to avoid Facebook's IPO stumble.

But for brands and social media, now is the time to double down on your Twitter strategy, because the best is yet to come.