Twitter has been surrounded with talks of a pending sale the last couple of weeks, and a variety of companies, including Google, Salesforce and Walt Disney, were considered to be among the potential bidders, and that bids could be in as soon as this week. But, according to reports Wednesday, both Google and Disney are not going to be making acquisition bids for the popular social media platform.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Recode first reported that Google “was not moving forward with an effort to buy it [Twitter] at this time.” And three hours later, it published another report about Disney, once again citing unidentified people close to Disney, who said “the media giant has decided not to move forward” with a bid to acquire Twitter.
That leaves Salesforce as the only serious bidder for the troubled social media platform. CEO Marc Benioff has made known his intention to buy Twitter, especially after Microsoft beat Salesforce to buy LinkedIn earlier this year. In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Benioff said of Twitter: “I’m not saying I’m buying it, but I’m not saying I’m not buying it.”
For its part, Twitter wants to conclude acquisition negotiations by the time it announces its third-quarter earnings on Oct. 27, and has conveyed as much to potential bidders, according to a Reuters report that cited anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter. The sources added that “binding acquisition offers are due in the next two weeks, and Twitter has already whittled down the field of potential acquirers.”
The microblogging website has struggled over the recent quarters to grow the number of its users, which grew 10-fold from just about 30 million in the first quarter of 2010 to over 300 million at the beginning of 2015. In stark contrast, the number of active monthly users grew by less than 2 percent, from 307 million to 313 million, in the last four quarters. The shares have performed badly as well, trading consistently below the debut price of $26 a share since December 2015.
Twitter investor Chris Sacca told Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday that he wanted the company to be acquired. Market expectation of bids coming in soon sent the stock climbing Wednesday during regular trading hours, and it closed at $24.87, a rise of 5.74 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. But reports of Google and Disney pulling out dragged the stock down in after-hours trade, when it fell 9.21 percent.