Twitter’s Job Postings Hint at an IPO

Twitter’s hiring 88 engineers, but the intriguing jobs it’s posted have little to do with tech.

Twitter LogoThe company’s said to be looking for a financial reporting manager, which it needs for “preparation of monthly reporting materials, quarterly/annual financial statements and Form S-1 when we are ready to go public,” according to USA Today. Since the report appeared, that job listing has disappeared from LinkedIn.

A look through other listings on Twitter’s own website offers some hints at its interest in an IPO: It’s looking for someone to handle stock administration, as well as a senior manager for accounting operations whose minimum qualifications include a “proven track record of applying technical accounting guidance and familiarity with public company reporting.” Lastly, Twitter’s beefing up its finance and legal departments. Its site lists nine open positions for finance and three for legal.

Reading the Tea Leaves

“I don’t think Twitter has made it a secret that one day, someday, they hope to do an IPO,” says Lise Buyer, founder and principal of Class V Group, an IPO and public company advisory service. “All of this is just backing up what they’ve said all along that one day it will happen.”

Buyer, a former Wall Street analyst and Google employee who advised that company on its IPO, noted that sometimes financial reporting managers are hired a year or so before a company goes public, or other times shortly before. In other words, that particular posting doesn’t shed much light on Twitter’s possible time frame.

However, its listing for a stock administrator would be unusual for a privately held company, since that person handles some shareholder concerns and manages stock options as they become public shares and available for trading. Generally, such options are “locked up” to prevent employees and investors from selling any shares until six months have passed from the IPO date.

“Smaller companies will sometimes hire a stock administrator after an IPO but before the lockups expire,” Buyer says. “But usually, most companies think of it before an IPO, maybe six months to a year before.”

While Buyer notes that hiring a stock administrator is by no means a signal that Twitter is ready to go public, she believes it indicates that it has no intention of selling itself. If it did, it wouldn’t need a stock administrator. If all goes according to plan, IPOs typically take three months from the time the prospectus is filed to the first trading day, she says.

A Tweet IPO

Job TweetOf the 88 engineering openings Twitter has available, 57 are in San Francisco and one is in its new office in Sunnyvale. That position is for a software engineer for core runtime diagnostics. The company plans to hire more in the Sunnyvale office, it tweets.

For those who land these jobs, the timing’s good. The earlier you join a potentially public company, the lower the price you’ll likely have to pay to exercise options and take ownership of your stock.

But before getting all crazed about a possible IPO, heed Buyer’s sage advice: “Don’t worry about the options. If you like the job and the people you’ll work with, take the job.”