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Meet the Twitter billionaires. (Hint: There’s actually only one.)

These are the men who will get rich as Twitter goes public on the NYSE later today.
Nov 7th 2013, 8:23 AM 21,248 20

Updated 8.23am

TWITTER WILL FLOAT on the stock exchange late today and it is going to make some people very rich.

It set a higher-than-expected price of $26 per share for its initial public offering last night and will begin trading later today under the ticker symbol “TWTR”.

This price values Twitter at more than $18 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock expected to be available after the IPO. Facebook Inc.’s value, meanwhile, stood at $104 billion at the time of its IPO.

Regardless, this will still net a lot of cash for some of the foremost figures in Twitter, but who and how much?

We can make some estimations based on Twitter’s latest filing to the US  Securities and Exchange Commission which contains information on some of its primary shareholders.

EVAN WILLIAMS, CO-FOUNDER, @ev

Total Shares: 56,909,847

Percentage share: 10.4 per cent

Estimated value: $1.5 billion

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A former Nebraska farm boy, Williams has been variously described as deliberate, indecisive, taciturn, brilliant and even unscrupulous by those who believe he shoved aside Jack Dorsey and Noah Glass to consolidate his power.

Williams, 41, emerged as Twitter’s largest shareholder by seizing an opportunity that arose as his podcasting startup, Odeo, foundered.

Williams replaced Jack Dorsey as Twitter’s CEO in October 2008 and then stepped aside himself two years later when he turned over the reins to Dick Costolo. Williams remains on Twitter’s board. If you follow him on Twitter, you’ll notice he spends a lot of time mulling a wide variety of subjects while mixing in a dry sense of humor.

JACK DORSEY, CO-FOUNDER and CHAIRMAN, @jack

Total Shares: 23,453,017

Percentage share: 4.3 per cent

Estimated value: $619 million

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It has been an incredible turn of events for a former punk rocker who used to wear a nose ring and once considered giving up computer programming to become a fashion designer.

Dorsey, 36, is so impeccably groomed now that he is considered among the best-dressed men in technology.

He has been a Silicon Valley sensation as Twitter’s chairman and as CEO of a mobile payment processor called Square. He is frequently touted as the next Steve Jobs, a comparison he hasn’t tried to discourage while also positioning himself for a possible political career. He has said he would eventually like to be mayor of New York, where he once lived.

Although Dorsey has been Twitter’s chairman since 2008, his power has been limited by a concession he made when he relinquished the CEO job to Williams that same year. As part of that change in command, Dorsey handed over the voting rights of his Twitter stock to Williams. Dorsey will regain those rights once Twitter’s IPO is completed.

DICK COSTOLO, CEO, @dickc

Total Shares: 7,675,239

Percentage share: 1.4 per cent

Estimated value: $202 million

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It took a joker to turn Twitter into a serious business. Although Twitter still hasn’t made any money, at least its revenue is rising at an impressive rate, something that couldn’t be said until Costolo joined the company as chief operating officer in 2009. Within a year, the former stand-up comic from Chicago had replaced Evan Williams as CEO.

When Costolo took charge in 2010, Twitter’s revenue was $28 million. This year, it’s on track to be more than $600 million. Yet Twitter’s losses are also mounting, mainly because Costolo has been spending lots of money to prepare for what he hopes will be years of steady growth.

This is the fourth company that Costolo has helped build since leaving the stage as a comic. The three previous startups that he helped found and run all were sold. That includes FeedBurner, which Google bought for about $100 million in 2007.

Costolo, 50, still unleashes one-liners at Twitter’s weekly “Tea Time” sessions with employees. His wisecracks also surface in his Twitter posts, and one of them recently ruffled some feathers.

BIZ STONE, CO-FOUNDER, @biz

Total Shares: Unknown

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The Twitter co-founder is missing entirely from Twitter’s SEC filing. Some reports state that he sold many of his early shares and could end up earning just 1 per cent of Williams’s windfall.

The self-described dork has a gift for gab that made him Twitter’s most visible face while he worked the TV talk show circuit and handled most of the media during the company’s early years.

Stone, 39, moved from Boston to Silicon Valley a decade ago primarily to work at Google with Williams, whom Stone once hailed as “the only person to consistently help me get the most out of my own brain and abilities.”

In 2005, Stone followed Williams to Odeo and then helped arrange the deal that spun out Twitter in October 2006 so it could be bought by Obvious. Twitter became its own company in 2007. Stone left Twitter in 2011 to join Williams at Obvious.

Stone is now working on a startup called Jelly Industries, which is believed to be working a system that will answer questions posed on mobile devices.

PETER FENTON, DIRECTOR, @peterfenton

Total Shares: 31,568,740

Percentage share: 5.8 per cent

Estimated value: $835 million

Peter Fenton is a venture capitalist who first invested in Twitter when it had only 25 employees. His firm Benchmark Capital owns 5.8 per cent of the company. It is not belived Fenton will receive all the financial rewards from the share but is named on the SEC filing because he is a Twitter board member.

Additional reporting and all images by Associated Press.

Originally published 23.18pm

Read: Twitter files a $1 billion IPO >

Read: NYSE ‘test runs’ Twitter IPO to avoid problems that plagued Facebook >

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Rónán Duffy

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