Twitter drops 9% on reports of bidders dropping out

Google, Disney and Apple aren't going to bid, leaving only Salesforce in the running

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 6, 2016
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Just like that, after a week and a half of frenzied speculation, the Twitter acquisition now seems to have come to a screeching halt, as it is becoming unlikely that any of three of the main candidates who were said to be in the running, Salesforce, Google or Disney, are actually going to follow through.

Google is not currently planning to make a bid for Twitter, according to what sources told ReCode on Wednesday. Later, sources close to Disney said the same thing

It had seemed that Google was the most likely acquirer of Twitter, mostly because it has been the most frequently assumed target for such a purchase, given how badly that company wants to get social right after it failed with Google+. There have been speculation about this kind of deal going all the way back to 2009. Remember that Twitter was only founded in 2006, so this has been going on for most of its life.

Disney also made some sense, as it could benefit from Twitter becoming more of a media company. That would certainly have appealled to Disney, which owns both ABC and ESPN, and might have been 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 seemed like a reason it would be interesting to Disney, since ESPN owns the rights to Monday Night Football.

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.

According to ReCode's reporting, Apple was also in the mix to buy Twitter (thought I had not heard the name come up) and it too has decided not to make a bid. 

No reasons were given for why any of these companies seemingly changed their plans.

These reports leave only Salesforce as a potential acquirer right now, and CEO Marc Benioff didn't sound all that enthusiastic about it when speaking to CNBC's Jim Cramer on Wednesday.

"It's a great product," Benioff said. "It's an exciting product, but obviously the business has a lot of challenges, very severe challenges."

While he wouldn't comment directly about the potential deal, as is his standard practice, his statements do not make it sound like it's going to happen. 

"All I can do is one thing, which is wish my good friend Jack Dorsey well. He is the CEO of that company. It's his job to make that a great company. It is my job to make Salesforce a great company."

Salesforce always felt like a longshot for this acquisition, as it never seemed 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. 

So, where does this leave Twitter? Well, the company is definitely looking to sell, that much is known. Reuters is reporting that the company wants to conclude negotiations about selling itself before the end of the month. Twitter will report its third-quarter earnings on Octocber 27.

With no companies in the running to acquire it, though, a sale of Twitter suddenly feels a lot less likely, and investors are not happy.

The company, whose stock had risen 20 percent on the news that Google was interested, crashed in after-hours trading, dropping over 9 percent.

" We do not comment on rumors," a Salesforce spokesperson told me,

VatorNews reached out to Twitter, Disney and Google, for comment. We will update this story if we learn more. 


Twitter's stock dropped 20.1 percent in regular trading on Thursday, to $19.87 a share. 

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