Top Internet analyst has 10 IPO questions for Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter’s IPO roadshow kicks off Friday and one of Wall Street’s top Internet analysts, Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets, has armed investors with a list of questions for the social media company.

Mark Mahaney, Internet analyst at RBC Capital Markets

Roadshows let company executives meet prospective investors ahead of an IPO so they can discuss strategies and risks. Twitter’s roadshow starts in New York and runs into early November, hitting other cities including Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Twitter set a price range for its IPO late Thursday, putting a cautious valuation on its business. Its shares are on course for a public market debut in mid-November.

Mahaney has been ranked the top Internet analyst by Institutional Investor for the past five years. He joined RBC in January after being fired from Citigroup. His ouster came after Citi paid a $2 million fine to settle charges that the bank improperly disclosed research on Facebook ahead of its $16 billion IPO in May 2012. The settlement agreement said Mahaney failed to supervise a junior analyst who improperly shared Facebook research with the TechCrunch news website.

Despite that black mark, Mahaney is still considered one of the top Internet analysts on the street. In a carefully worded note to investors early Friday, Mahaney share the following questions ahead of Twitter’s roadshow:.

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1. What are your most important strategies for growing your user base and the engagement of your user base?

2. What are your most important strategies for growing your advertiser base and the engagement/spend of your advertiser base?

3. What different advertising solutions can Twitter offer over time?

4. In which International markets has Twitter had the most success in terms of growing users and generating revenue?

5. How do you improve your International user monetization over time?

6. Why are Twitter’s Gross Margins low relative to Facebook and LinkedIn?

7. Where can Twitter’s EBITDA margins go long-term?

8. How do you think about building out your employee base?

9. How does Twitter think about M&A as a growth strategy?

10. What is life like in the Tenderloin?

Follow Alistair Barr on Twitter @alistairmbarr.

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