In light of the wreckage in the social media sector, such as with Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), activity in the IPO market could be slack next year. And it’s a good bet we won’t see a Twitter offering.
But for investors who still want a piece of the action, there is a way to get some exposure to the company’s shares: Take a look at Firsthand Technology Value Fund (NASDAQ:SVVC), an investment fund that purchases pre-IPO shares.
According to a post in Barron’s, Firsthand’s stake in Twitter is now at 8.3% of its total assets. Some of the other holdings include Facebook, Gilt Groupe and Solar City (which plans to come public next week).
Firsthand purchases its shares primarily in secondary markets. However, financial information on these investments is often lacking, which can lead to misfires on valuations. For example, before Facebook came public in May, the shares were fetching about $42 to $45 in secondary markets. Now they trade at $27.
Yet with the substantial sell-off in social stocks, the valuations for privately held investments may now be much cheaper. And this could explain why Firsthand has been aggressive with Twitter.
But investors need to still be extremely cautious. A fund like Firsthand should represent only a small part of your portfolio (say, less than 5%). Keep in mind that its price range for 2012 is $14.25 to $46.50. Yes, volatility is the nature of pre-IPO investing.
But for investors who want to participate — and can stomach the risk — Firsthand looks like a good choice.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.