Biz Stone says VC-backed Twitter not for sale

Twitter, the social networking company that allows users to post 140-character messages, or tweets, on its site for free, isn’t for sale and may eventually launch a public offering, its co-founder Biz Stone said in an interview with reporters last week in Oxford, England.

The three-year-old company is already making some revenue and would concentrate on that next year, he said.

“2010 is really going to be the revenue year. I don’t know if we’re going to be profitable, but we have plenty of time,” Stone said.

In September, Twitter received a new round of funding from investors, including mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price and Insight Venture Partners, which analysts said set the stage for an eventual IPO or sale. The funding reportedly totaled $100 million, theoretically valuing the company at $1 billion.

Stone told reporters he did not want to sell the company, but would explore alternatives to an IPO.

“The point is, we want to build our own company that will last for a long time. If an IPO’s the way to do that, then sure. We don’t have it checked off on the calendar yet,” he said on the sidelines of an entrepreneurship workshop at Oxford University.

“We are definitely not interested in selling the company,” he said. “If an IPO’s the only thing, then sure. But if there is some other way then that would be great too. Maybe some other new way will emerge.”

Stone declined to provide details of how Twitter would introduce advertising next year on its site to its users, but hinted it would be different from traditional forms of Internet advertising, which include display ads and sponsored search.

“Everyone’s going to love it. It’s going to be amazing,” he said when asked about the dangers of alienating users, who may take exception to the move.

Worldwide visitors to its site hit 44.5 million in June, up 15-fold from a year earlier, according to tracker comScore. —Georgina Prodhan, Reuters