Twitter Inc is set to hit its IPO price in the coming days, and there seems little enough the firm can do to turn itself around. Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, has followed the firm through every high and low. At points he’s told investors to put money behind the stock. Right now he’s telling them that the firm is dead.
You can see in the infographic, the stages that Mr. Cramer has gone through in relation to Twitter. He’s always been skeptical of the firm’s ability to make money, but at times he’s listened to research from Wall Street that said progress was going well.
Fear of Twitter
At first Mr. Cramer was a little bit afraid of Twitter. When the numbers for the firm’s IPO emerged he was “deathly afraid of another Facebook deal happening here.” Facebook shares famously collapsed ion their first day of trading after trouble with the Nasdaq stock exchange caused reams of orders to fire wrongly.
Twitter shares took a little longer than that. They closed on IPO day, November 8 2013, at $41.65 having gone on sale at $26. Two months later, on January 3 2014, shares hit a high of $69, a number they’ve never seen since.
After the initial spike shares saw a long hard fall. By May of 2015 Cramer called an end to the drop. He said, on May 8, that “The short trade is done, I don’t want to short this thing.” He was right. Shares in Twitter closed at a low of $30.50 on May 23.
It stayed above that level until it revealed earnings for its second quarter on July 27 2015. While it was up, Jim Cramer changed his opinion on the firm.
Anthony Noto saves the day, and just the day
Anthony Noto, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was brought in to save Twitter’s ailing finances on July 1 2014, exactly one year before CEO Dick Costolo was forced to resign.
Cramer liked the hire. In September of that year, when Twitter stock was on a new uptrend, he said “Twitter’s turned the corner ever since CFO Anthony Noto got there to add discipline and ways to make money.” By October all of Mr. Cramer’s faith was gone.
After Mr. Noto delivered his first report on July 30, Wall Street was joyous. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali raised his price target to $58 and said he saw “faster-than-expected growth and margin over time.”
Costolo can’t be understood
Twitter stock crashed after it released its numbers for the three months through September, and Mr. Cramer was very critical of the firm’s CEO. It’s after this report that Jim Cramer began to talk openly about the need to take Costolo out of his job.
“I thought that Costolo was incoherent both in his interview and on the conference call. I simply had no idea what the heck he was talking about,” Mr. Cramer said. Jim Cramer held Dick Costolo responsible for almost everything wrong with Twitter right up until he left the firm, though he stepped back from his criticism once or twice.
Costolo’s alright if the numbers are there
Right ahead of a massive surge in the price of Twitter shares earlier this year, Jim Cramer said that he thought the CEO was doing an okay job. He said he was “going to be much kinder about Costolo and he can stay. Costolo can stay. He is allowed to stay, If Rob Peck is right that they can monetize.”
Cramer was referencing Robert Peck of SunTrust Robinson who had just published a bullish picture of the fourth quarter at Twitter. It turned that he was right.
Just two weeks later Stifel Nicolaus released a report with a $75 price target on shares. Jordan Rohan, who wrote that report, called Twitter the “most powerful, flexible, and disruptive of the social media platforms, giving it significant scarcity value.”
Twitter’s earnings for the three months through December sent shares flying higher once more, but the surge didn’t last very long.
Twitter begins to fail
This is the last, and most recent chapter in the rise and fall of Twitter . The firm’s shares were riding high heading into April reveal of March quarter earnings. Shares traded for more than $50 from the start of April into the release of that report.
By May 8 they were trading for less than $38. Cramer became very hard on Costolo after seeing those numbers. At that point he held that Twitter was a great product with really bad managers.
He said that “It is a hidden diamond that seemed to be on the verge of being seen as a cubic zirconium because of an almost universal acknowledgement by everyone I know that the CEO was in over his head.”
Cramer accepts the end of Twitter
Twitter, as any holding the stock will know, followed up its awful March results with worse numbers from the June quarter. The firm replaced CEO Dick Costolo with founder Jack Dorsey, but didn’t reveal plans to put a full time CEO in the position.
At this point Cramer became less hopeful about the future of Twitter. On July 29 he said “Twitter blew it…. and it’s their own darned fault.” The CNBC star was spending time replying to Twitter users who exclaimed that the firm was dead, and said that the execs in charge had told investors not to bother buying shares. By the end of July Twitter shares were trading for $35, and worse was to come.
After the firm’s earnings were revealed Citigroup’s Mark May said that “There’s nowhere to hide. Users have been basically flat in the U.S. for about four quarters now.” Bringing new users to the platform would be key going ahead, and that didn’t look likely.
Desolation and gloomy hope
On August 6 Twitter shares hit a low of $27.31 and appeared to be heading toward its IPO price of $26. Cramer, who had called for Google to buy the firm out in the past, had a gloomy hope for the future of the firm. That hope involved its extinction, however.
On August 3 Cramer said that Google execs were “most likely thinking, look at this sucker go down, maybe we can get it for nothing.”
A buyout may be the only thing that those holding onto Twitter shares can hope for at this point. The price they get for their shares may not be up to scratch, but at least they’ll be able to get out with some kind of return, assuming they bought in below the massive highs.
Traders who got in and out depending on Cramer’s mood may have done a little better. The Mad Money host appears to have made good calls on the stock more often than not. Right now he’s saying, with surety, that traders should stay away from Twitter.