SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter's rocketing IPO takes two of its founders on a ride into billionaire territory and a wave of millionaires along for the journey.
The micro-blogging service, based here, went public on the NYSE as shares opened at $45.10 and quickly shot past $50 before settling into the mid-40s.
Based on today's trading high and stock holdings before the offering, co-founder Evan Williams' stock would be worth $2.7 billion. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's stock would be worth $1.2 billion. CEO Dick Costolo's stock would be worth $368 million.
Peter Fenton, a general partner at Benchmark Capital, held a Twitter stock position that would be worth $1.5 billion.
Twitter shares were up 74%, at $45.37, in midday trading following Wednesday's pricing at $26 per share.
"Clearly demand is pretty high," says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. "That's really how you get wealthy in the IPO market."
Co-founder Biz Stone presumably sold his shares ahead of the IPO and co-founder Noah Glass was reportedly kicked out of the company and holds no valuable stake if any.
Questions remain over Twitter's financial prospects and how the stock will perform once subject to quarterly earnings reports.
"It seems to me like a speculative valuation for a company that is still unprofitable," says Richard Sloan, accounting professor at University of California at Berkeley.
It's difficult to pinpoint just how many rank-and-file employees could become millionaires or multimillionaires, say experts. That number could range in the hundreds based on the numbers of restricted stock units and stock options offered to employees.
The value of those shares, as with those of the founders, will depend on Twitter's stock market performance. How long employees have been with the company and their grant prices will also affect the worth of stock holdings.
Those at Twitter in line for stock market wealth are likely mindful of the volatility of new company shares and the risk of keeping all eggs in one basket, says Jay Ritter, professor of finance at the University of Florida.
"For every Serge Brin and Larry Page who rode their holdings in a successful company to become a billionaire, there are lots ... who saw their paper wealth rise and then collapse," says Ritter.