Financial research firm Greencrest Capital has advised that the much-quoted citing of Twitter’s value of $11 billion (£6.8 billion) – based on the research firm’s own analysis – has been taken out of context, and that the true value of the social media site is in fact closer to $8 billion (£4.9 billion).

Greencrest says that the higher valuation was based on certain less liquid, non-primary market exchanges which were not representative of Twitter’s general market worth.

The company also claims that Twitter’s value has been further inflated by rumours of a possible takeover by Apple.

The question of Twitter’s value is of particular interest at the moment following speculative reports that the search engine will be publicly floated next year.

According to Greencrest’s analysis, Twitter’s financial health in 2014 is likely to still fulfil the conditions necessary to meet Twitter’s stated desire to go public when the time is right.

The research company also claims that Twitter has already begun organising its executive structure in anticipation of the float – with new appointments including Mike Gupta as chief financial officer from online games company Zynga.

Commenting on the likely float, Max Wolff – an analyst with Greencrest – said:

“This makes sense as growth in users and new monetisation efforts are both yielding fruit and pointing toward a good 2013 for Twitter.”

Other commentators, however, have expressed concern over Twitter’s relative lack of advertising revenue compared with that of rival social media site, Facebook – which attracted advertising revenue worth several billion pounds in the year leading up to its flotation.