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Why Aren't Facebook and Twitter Public?

Rick Aristotle Munarriz
March 3, 2009

I'm a growth-stock investor, and IPOs used to be my lifeblood. A steady pipeline of promising companies poised to jump into the market offers compelling ground-floor opportunities, assuming the valuations are reasonable.

Sadly, today's IPO market is rapidly collecting cobewebs. Instead of cheering on the market debuts of hot Internet companies such as Facebook or Twitter, I find myself struggling to stay awake. There's no way to tell how popular an IPO would be for much-visited sites like these two-- or LinkedIn, or perhaps Digg -- but the silence is deafening.

Infant-formula giant Mead-Johnson (NYSE: MJN  ) went public last month, ending a three-month drought of new domestic stock offerings. Before that, the last IPO took place all the way back in November: online educator Grand Canyon Education (Nasdaq: LOPE  ) .

Neither has been a dud. Priced at $24 and $12 per share in their respective debuts, Mead-Johnson and Grand Canyon Education both trade higher today.

Look back a few years, at more prolific dot-com IPOs such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) in 2004 and (Nasdaq: BIDU