Twitter takes first step to go public in 140 characters or less

Twitter, which began as a side project in a small but failing start-up seven years ago and grew into one of the world’s largest platforms for public conversation, is about to take its biggest step yet into maturity: selling stock to the public.

The company announced on Thursday — in a tweet, one of the 140-character messages that are the backbone of the service — that it had filed paperwork with regulators to eventually sell shares in an initial public offering. However, it had filed the first documents months earlier under a special provision of securities law that allows a company with less than $1 billion in annual revenue to keep its financial data secret until it begins actively marketing its stock to investors.

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