Twitter's (TWTR - Analyst Report) much-anticipated IPO appears to have been a success. The stock opened smoothly on Thursday morning and immediately jumped more than 70%. It has been hovering around the mid-$40s in early trading.
But I will not be buying the stock anytime soon myself.
Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Most of Twitter's Users are International - and Advertisers Don't Care About Them
77% of Twitter's 232 monthly active users (MAUs) come from outside of the United States. But just 26% of Twitter's revenue comes from overseas. That tells me that advertisers find very little value in the vast majority of Twitter's users. And guess where Twitter's user base is growing the fastest? Yep, overseas.
2. A Tsunami of Stock-based Compensation Expense is Coming
Like many young tech companies in Silicon Valley, Twitter compensates its employees in part through stock options. While stock-based compensation is admittedly hard to value with any precision, simply ignoring this cost seems naive to me. And if you decide not to stick your head in the sand regarding this expense, you'll see that Twitter has a lot of it hitting its books soon.
Buried deep in Twitter's S-1 filing is this gem: it has over $800 million in unrecognized stock-based compensation expense that it expects to recognize over the next 4 years. According to the company, this "will have a significant negative impact on our ability to achieve profitability on a GAAP basis in 2013 and 2014."
Just how big is this $800 million in stock-based compensation expense? It's more than Twitter's total revenue over the last 12 months ($534 million)! Yikes.
3. It's Too Expensive - Even for a Social Media Stock
About the only valuation metric appropriate for Twitter right now is the price/sales ratio. And given a stock price of $46, Twitter trades at a whopping 60x revenue (ttm; per diluted share). That's significantly higher than peers like Facebook (FB - Analyst Report) and LinkedIn (LNKD - Analyst Report), which both trade at a not-so-cheap 18x revenue.
So what are your reasons for buying or not buying Twitter? Chime in below!