Six reasons why Google should buy Twitter

Access to data; compete in messaging; improve live video on YouTube

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 4, 2016
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There are currently three main candidates in the running to acquire Twitter: Google, Salesforce and Disney. While a convincing case could no doubt be made for any one of them, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald is throwing his weight behind one in particular. 

In a note to clients on Tuesday, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali outlined his reasons why he believes Google is the most likely candidate to acquire Twitter, calling it "the one acquirer that's most likely to bid and win this valuable prize, in our view," according to Bloomberg.

He came up with six reasons why Google is the company most likely to win the prize.

  • First is the data that Google would gleam from Twitter. While the company has struggled mightily with growing its user numbers in the last couple of years, Twitter still has over 300 million users. That's still a lot of people, and a lot of data, and Google could use it to increase targeting on YouTube, and its search engine.

  • While Google started showing Tweets in its search results last year, actually owning Twitter would not only allow it to better integrate them, but it would also give Google a competitive advantage by allowing the company to cut off access to its rivals, including Yahoo and Bing. 

  • Google is competing with Facebook on messaging, but that company is threatening to run away with the space, given the increasing popularity of both Messenger and WhatsApp. Buying Twitter would allow Google to expand its messaging service and stay competitive. 

  • "Among potential buyers, Google would be the one to realize the biggest cost synergies," Squali wrote. "Other bidders may be able to reduce Twitter's operating costs under different scenarios, but none would have as many synergies as Alphabet."

  • Buying Twitter would allow Google to potentially get social right, following the failure of Google+. Twitter is generally considered to be the second most important social network, though behind only Facebook (though Snapchat may be catching up) and it would automatically make Google a bit player in the space.

  • Twitter has recently been making live video a central part of its platform, specifically when it comes to sports, including a deal with the NFL to air Thursday Night Football games. If Google were to buy Twitter, it could leverage that content within YouTube.

Salesforce or Disney?

Google has seemed like the most likely acquirer of Twitter, and has been the most frequently assumed target for such a purchase, mostly because of how badly that company wants to get social right. There are even reports of such a takeover going all the way back to 2009

Last summer, when Twitter's stock dove under $30 for the first time ever, speculation of this sort about Google rang up again, but obviously came to nothing at the time.

Salesforce, on the other hand, is a new player on the scene, and one that doesn't seem like as much of an obvious fit, given that Twitter is a consumer driven service and Salesforce is a cloud services provider for the enterprise.

Of course, Salesforce was a major player when it came to the acquisition of another social network, LinkedIn. Salesforce made a bid for the company, which eventually wound up being acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion in June. That one made more sense, given LinkedIn's focus on job recruiting, but perhaps Salesforce sees more uses for Twitter as an enterprise tool as well. 

While Salesforce seems like an odd fit for Twitter, Disney makes a lot more sense, with Twitter becoming more of a media company. That would certainly appeal to Disney, which owns both ABC and ESPN, and could be looking for a social media platform to leverage all of that content, especially as people have started to cancel their cable subscriptions.

ABC currently allows users to live stream its shows on its website, in certain markets, and to watch the most recently aired episodes ABC Overview, but buying Twitter automatically brings in over 300 million users already familiar with the service. 

Twitter's deal with the NFL to air Thursday Night Football games could make it interesting to Disney since ESPN owns the rights to Monday Night Football. So there are numerous parts here that could potentially fit together. 

There's also the fact that Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter, currently sits on the board of directors at Disney, so the company would seem to have a potential in to getting access to Twitter.

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