In an obvious move to position the company towards a planned 2014 IPO, Twitter has today enabled LOLcats translation capabilities for its user profiles.
The translation of the sometimes obtuse service into the tired but still kind of funny LOLcats meme is meant to serve as a stepping stone in the startup’s efforts to eventually please the fickle financial markets. This is the latest in a series of strategic moves by Twitter in its plan to go public.
Building up to LOLcats, the company has allowed for employee liquidity in a series of two tender offers and launched video with the help of recent acquisition Vine. It recently scooped up TV analytics startup Bluefin Labs to further solidify its foray into video.
The Blackrock tender offer valued the company at $9 billion, with employees being offered $17 a share, but we’ve heard that the market value for Twitter shares is closer to $20 per share, as evidenced in this subsequent valuation report from Dan Primack. It’s rumored that the company expects to bring in $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2013.
We’ve been hearing from multiple sources that the company hopes to IPO around this time next year — and that the s-1 document should drop by the second half of this one. Taking a cue from Facebook, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently told the WSJ that “making Twitter more understandable to newcomers so the service can crack one billion users” was the company’s top priority.
As it stares down the road to the NASDAQ, Twitter has become notoriously tight with liquidity, trying to avoid emulating a Facebook situation where many institutional investors already owned shares before it went public. Facebook allowed users to translate its profile pages into Pirate before its IPO, though it’s still unclear what effect that had on the stock.