Twitter's austere approach to its initial public offering was not enough to placate San Francisco's have-nots. A coalition of tenant advocates, seniors, workers, and students gathered outside the company's Mid-Market headquarters today, in the middle of Twitter's stock market debut, to draw attention to corporate tax breaks and what the group claims is Twitter's role is "displacing thousands of families, seniors, and working people in San Francisco," according to a press release.
Twitter didn't make a bunch of dudes "paper" billionaires today without a helping hand from the government. But Senators John McCain and Carl Levin decided this is the week to burst their IPO bubble. The stock option tax loophole that let Twitter take an estimated $154 million tax deduction, they declare, "ought to be closed."
Two financial firms filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court today alleging that Twitter had them organize a private sale of its shares and then cancelled the sale—all for the purpose of ratcheting up investor interest prior to its IPO. The complaint accuses Twitter of "using the aborted sale as a way to give the money-losing company a $10 billion market valuation and higher IPO price," says Reuters.
In 2011, San Francisco agreed to exempt Twitter from the city's payroll taxes on new hires in exchange for charitable contributions like, say, philanthropic retweets. The value of the tax break was estimated to be worth $22 million over six years. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the tax break could be worth more than $55 million after the company's IPO.
Yesterday's amended IPO documents brought more news than continued unprofitablility: Ev Williams isn't going to be Twitter's biggest billion dollar success story anymore. That honor now belongs to Suhail Rizvi, a reclusive Hollywood insider and Wall Street financier who deletes his existence from the internet.