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October 28, 2013

Twitter secures $1 billion credit line before initial share sale

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter said it obtained a $1 billion credit facility this month, following the lead of other social media companies in accessing the debt market tied to an initial public offering.

In a regulatory filing Tuesday, Twitter also said MoPub Inc., an advertising startup that it's acquiring, recorded sales of $6.52 million in the first half of 2013, compared with $2.69 million for all of last year. The acquisition is scheduled to close in November, Twitter said in an updated prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Twitter is mimicking Facebook and Zynga, which both obtained credit facilities in connection with their IPOs. Facebook received an $8 billion financing package before its 2012 offering, and Zynga secured a $1 billion line of credit from underwriters the previous year. Twitter could use the funding to help with acquisitions, said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities Inc.

"It sounds like much, much more than they need to fund their operations." Pachter said. Twitter is planning to raise more than $1 billion in the IPO, according to people with knowledge of the process.

Twitter's Chief Financial Officer Mike Gupta previously helped take Zynga public.

The banks providing the credit line are also managing the IPO. They include lead underwriter Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is providing $150 million, along with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which are each contributing $250 million.

Other lenders include Bank of America Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG.

Twitter agreed last month to pay more than $300 million in stock for MoPub, the company's largest acquisition. The deal pushes Twitter deeper into mobile advertising, which accounts for 76 percent of monthly users and 70 percent of ad revenue. Using MoPub, Twitter will be able to extend its advertising across other mobile applications and add real-time bidding to its platform, so advertisers can automate purchases based on events, the company said in its prospectus.

Twitter's revenue more than doubled in the third quarter to $168.6 million from $82.3 million a year earlier, while its net loss expanded to $64.6 million from $21.6 million, according to an earlier filing. Twitter's average revenue per user in the latest quarter was 73 cents, based on its 231.7 million monthly active users, less than half of Facebook's $1.60 average monthly revenue per user.

MoPub, also based in San Francisco, has almost 100 employees worldwide, according to a blog post at the time of the transaction. The startup had a net loss of $2.83 million in the first six months of 2013 after losing $8.14 million for all of 2012.

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