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In what is likely to be the most closely watched technology IPO since Facebook, Twitter is expected to launch a public stock offering next year — according to a report in the Sunday Times, it has already had discussions with a number of investment banks about leading the share issue, which the newspaper says could value Twitter as high as $15 billion.

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In Brief

As it tries to ramp up revenue in advance of a much-anticipated public offering, Twitter is looking to expand its e-commerce options, and in order to do so it has hired former Ticketmaster president Nathan Hubbard as its first head of commerce. “We’re going to go to people who have stuff to sell and help them use Twitter to sell it more effectively,” Hubbard told Bloomberg.

In Brief

For some time now, Foursquare has been fighting its critics by arguing that it is building the “location layer for the internet.” It has followed through on some of that claim by integrating itself into Instagram and other services, but now it could be on the verge of something much bigger: sources tell BuzzFeed it is close to signing a significant data deal with Yahoo.

In Brief

In what seems like a smart move to direct users towards valuable content outside the Twitter network and also show how powerful embedding a tweet can be, Twitter has launched a new feature that will show links to stories and blog posts that have embedded specific tweets. The feature was spotted by some last month as Twitter tried the new feature out.

In Brief

When even newspapers like the Washington Post have to sell out to an internet billionaire, is there any hope for the rest of the industry? Reuters media columnist Jack Shafer points out that historically the news business has never really made much money, and that non-profit models may be the only solution to the newspaper industry’s disruption.

In Brief

According to figures from comScore, web traffic at Quartz — the business site launched last year by Atlantic Media — has grown so rapidly that the site now has more unique visitors per month than The Economist and almost as many as the Financial Times, at 2 million. The Economist disputes those figures, saying its unique visitors are actually closer to 4 million a month, but Quartz’s growth is still impressive for a new publication.

In Brief

According to a note at the Washington Post, the newspaper’s website has been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army — a group of anonymous hackers who support Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and who recently hijacked the Twitter accounts of the New York Post and the company SocialFlow, as well as those belonging to Thomson Reuters and the Financial Times. The newspaper says it is working to resolve the issue.

In Brief

A Twitter account called “The Times Is On It” — which routinely makes fun of the newspaper for writing about social trends and other stories that are obvious — snarkily noted on Wednesday morning that the newpaper’s website was down, returning nothing but a “service unavailable” message when readers tried to load the front page. NYT staffers were said to be, er… on it.

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