Twitter investors have been less than impressed in the past year, sending the microblogging site's stock down 40 percent, even after a rally to kick off 2015.
Yet, when compared to the other top U.S. Internet companies, Twitter is still being priced for #awesomeness.
Of the six biggest U.S. consumer Web companies by stock market capitalization (Google, Facebook, Amazon.com, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Twitter), Twitter is the only one that doesn't make money. And still investors value the company at 20 times revenue, compared with a price-to-sales ratio of 16 for Facebook, the second-most richly priced of the group. The others trade for between two and 14 times sales.
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Twitter Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo has a lot on his shoulders heading into the San Francisco-based company's fourth-quarter earnings report Thursday afternoon. Analysts on average predict sales growth of 87 percent from a year earlier to $453.1 million, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. The company is expected to report that its loss narrowed to 24 cents a share from $1.41.
None of the other Internet companies even approach Twitter's sales growth rate, with Facebook the closest at 49 percent in the latest quarter.
Because investors are betting that Twitter will outpace rivals for many years to come, Costolo has not only to show that revenue is growing faster than at other companies, but that a healthy number of users will continue to join the service. As an advertising business, Twitter needs more eyeballs for marketers to reach and needs people staying on the service for longer periods of time.