Twitter will seek to raise $1 billion in the largest Silicon Valley IPO since Facebook's 2012 coming-out party, according to an initial public offering filing made public Thursday.
The eight-year-old service — the preferred communications tool for celebrities and politicians alike — gave potential investors their first glance at its financials.
Revenue almost tripled to $316.9 million in 2012, from $106.3 million in 2011. But Twitter, founded in 2006, has never turned a profit and has an uninterrupted history of losses totaling $419 million since its inception.
The company disclosed last month that it had filed confidential IPO papers to start the process of going public. On Thursday, the San Francisco-based company unsealed the papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Twitter booked a larger loss in the first half of this year than a year earlier, but it grew revenue. The company lost $69.3 million in the first six months of 2013, compared with $49.1 million at the same time last year. Revenue more than doubled to $254 million from $122 million.
Twitter did not say which stock exchange it plans to list its shares on, though the company said it intends to use the ticker symbol "TWTR."
The service had 218.3 million monthly active users, on average, as of the end of June, up 44 percent from a year earlier. That compares with Facebook's nearly 1.2 billion and LinkedIn's 240 million. Mobile is the primary driver of its business, with 75 percent of the monthly active users accessing Twitter from a mobile device.
Twitter's IPO has been long expected. The company has been ramping up its advertising products and working to boost ad revenue in preparation. But it is still tiny compared with Facebook, which saw its hotly anticipated IPO implode last year amid worries about its ability to grow mobile ad revenue.
Twitter's moneymaking potential has minted the company with an estimated market value of $10 billion, based on the appraisals of venture capitalists and other early investors. The IPO could value it higher or lower. PrivCo analyst Sam Hamadeh says he expects Twitter to aim for a market value of about $15 billion when it prices its IPO.