Twitter revealed details its hotly anticipated initial public offering on Thursday saying it intended to raise $1bn from a share sale.
The seven-year-old social media company now has over 200 million active users who send 500 million tweets a day, according to the prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The share sale will further enrich Twitter's multi-millionaire founders. Analysts have predicted that the company could be worth between $12bn and $20bn when it starts trading.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chairman, holds 4.9% of the company's stock, Evan Williams, the former CEO and fellow co-founder, holds 12%. Dick Costolo, CEO, holds 1.6%.
Twitter had 218.3 million monthly active users as of 30 June, an increase of 44% from the 151.4 million a year previously. However it warned that growth will slow. "We anticipate that our user growth rate will slow over time as the size of our user base increases," the company said in its announcement.
Twitter's revenues increased by 198% to $316.9m in 2012, according to the filing. But the company posted a $79.4m loss for the year and lost $128.3m in 2011. The company has been spending large sums in order to build up its service and said it intends to carry on spending after it has raised the new money.
Last month Twitter paid around $350m in stock for the mobile advertising company MoPub, its largest acquisition to date. "Additionally, we may use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire businesses, products, services or technologies," the company said.
The company will be listed under the stock market symbol TWTR.
In a letter attached to the filing Twitter said: "Twitter was born on March 21, 2006, with just 24 characters. We started with a simple idea: share what you're doing, 140 characters at a time. People took that idea and strengthened it by using @names to have public conversations, #hashtags to organize movements, and Retweets to spread news around the world. Twitter represents a service shaped by the people, for the people.
"The mission we serve as Twitter, Inc is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. Our business and revenue will always follow that mission in ways that improve – and do not detract from – a free and global conversation."
Twitter's IPO is the most anticipated technology offering since Facebook's flawed stock market debut in May 2012. That share sale proved a disaster for Facebook. It took until September this year for its shares to recover to the levels they reached on the day of the sale.
Forrester analyst Zachary Reiss-Davis said the challenge for Twitter would be managing the relationship between advertisers on the site and the users who create and read its content.
Advertising accounts for 87% of Twitter's revenues. "Twitter's big question is not growth," he said. "It is how do they continue to make this an exciting place for their users while engaging brands and advertisers."
Twitter said last month that it had filed IPO documents with regulators under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS) that allows "emerging growth companies" to keep much of the details under wraps.
Companies are obliged to make the documents public about three weeks before the start of "road shows" in which they meet with potential investors in the IPO.
The timing of Twitter's public filing suggests shares could start trading in mid-to-late November, after roadshows to court investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission must approve IPO filings and only has funds to last a week or two. Twitter's share sale may not be delayed as the IPO was filed before the shutdown.
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