Twitter takeover roundup: Who’s interested in acquiring the soci - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Twitter takeover roundup: Who’s interested in acquiring the social media giant?

© Marisa Allegra Williams for Twitter, inc © Marisa Allegra Williams for Twitter, inc

By Saqib Shah

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Will Twitter be snapped up by a larger corporation later this month? Rumors regarding a takeover of the popular, but struggling social media giant have been circulating for the best part of the year.

Following two consecutive quarters of stagnant user growth, Twitter is reportedly set to evaluate formal acquisition bids on October 27 in an effort to ease its investors’ concerns over its shrinking stock price. That same date will also mark the release of the company’s third quarter earnings, revealing whether its big gambits on live video and changes to its core tweeting experience have paid off.

Despite reports of initial interest from Google, Salesforce, and Disney, recent speculation has dashed almost all hope of any of those companies putting forward a bid. Meanwhile, internal rumblings suggest that Twitter itself could be divided on the issue of a takeover. Twitter has thus far refused to comment on what it terms “rumor and speculation.”

As the all-important date draws ever nearer, we’ve compiled the essential roundup of all the major news around the tech acquisition that has everyone talking.

Will Salesforce persist despite investor pressure?

Salesforce, which is still sore about losing out to Microsoft in its bid to scoop up LinkedIn, is the only name left on the table from the aforementioned (likely) suitors.

Despite the most recent reports claiming the company is facing increasing pressure from shareholders not to go ahead with plans to bid on the social media giant, Salesforce has still not made up its mind, according to Reuters.

The nosedive Twitter’s shares have taken (losing as much as a third of their value) since news broke that both Google and Disney weren’t interested in pursuing an offer, may benefit Salesforce’s cause. The software company, which commands an 18.4-percent share of the customer relationship management (CRM) market, has cash reserves around half of Twitter’s current market capitalization (notes TechCrunch). By most accounts, Salesforce simply cannot afford the social platform. However, the latest news is the company is considering whether to place a lowball offer for Twitter based on recent trends.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has emphasized Twitter’s strengths in CRM and, like most tech entrepreneurs, probably wants to get his hands on the company’s treasure trove of data – the platform generates 500 million tweets a day and attracts, on average, more than 500 million users each month.

Last week marked the first anniversary of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s return to the company. It also brought with it a troubling report claiming that Dorsey was at odds with the Twitter board, and fellow co-founder Evan Williams, regarding the future of the platform.

Dorsey is reportedly adamant that Twitter should remain independent in order to reap the benefits of recent improvements to its core experience and live video. In response, the Twitter board is consulting with external advisers on how to deal with the internal disagreement, having already decided to evaluate formal takeover bids later this month.

On the surface, Dorsey seems unfazed by the chatter, which is increasingly focussing on his management of the company during this crucial juncture in its decade-long history. In an internal memo sent to staff members last week, Dorsey reportedly made no mention of a possible acquisition, and instead offered words of motivation for his team.

“We’re only limited by our sense of urgency…The people who use Twitter every day deserve our best. They are why we’re here,” writes Dorsey in the memo obtained by Bloomberg. ”So let’s show them what we’re made of and deliver a better Twitter faster than they thought possible. We can do this every day. We can do this!”

Is the memo just a case of damage control following the disappointing reports of a lack of interest in the firm? Or a bid to increase staff morale and faith in Dorsey’s leadership? It’s probably a bit of both. To many onlookers, Dorsey may appear to be a man out of time. To his credit, as CEO, Dorsey has attempted to define Twitter’s brand – an issue that troubles marketers and analysts alike. If he ends up losing the battle for his company’s independence, another firm will inherit the same problems. In Dorsey, they may have the one person who can help them to grasp the challenges they face.

Is Google no longer interested in social media?  

Alongside Disney (see below), Google was considered one of the most likely bidders for the social media giant before it reportedly decided to back away from proposing a deal, according to Re/code.

Like Salesforce, it was thought that Google too was interested in the social media network’s fire hose of real-time information. The tech giant’s myriad artificial intelligence software – the search firm said that a single component of an image recognition algorithm requires “tens of thousands” of data samples – could have benefited from Twitter’s deluge of data.

Google’s interest in Twitter likely went beyond data, however, and right to the heart of the company’s biggest failure: Google’s inability to create a social media competitor to rival Facebook. The company’s early stabs at social were marred by controversy – microblogging network Google Buzz was shuttered due to privacy concerns in 2011 – and Google+ is somehow limping along in the face of user apathy.

Google has of late been integrating social features into its video behemoth YouTube, and also recently launched another messaging app in the form of Allo. It certainly has the money to nab Twitter (boasting as much as $73.1 billion cash on hand to finance an acquisition, by one estimate), but it may be intent on sticking to its repair and repeat social media strategy for the foreseeable future.

Twitter or Netflix? Disney wants a slice of the mobile video pie

A force to be reckoned with by anyone’s standards, Disney seemingly popped up out of nowhere in regards to Twitter takeover talk, and just as quickly disappeared.

The old media conglomerate was reportedly in the final stages of calculating a bid before ruling it out altogether. Despite close ties between Disney CEO Bob Iger and Dorsey (the latter sits on the Disney board, and has declared his admiration for Iger’s leadership), it seems Twitter’s burgeoning expansion into live video may not have been enough to lure the House of Mouse.

Iger’s words and actions have made it clear that mobile video is an important part of his tech strategy. In a bid to offset a slowdown in growth at Disney-owned ESPN, he has made a flurry of investments in digital streaming (Hulu), online media (Vice), and video hosting (Major League Baseball’s live-streaming platform BAMTech

Recent reports suggest Disney wants to go all-in on live-streaming by acquiring Netflix. In terms of content, the gap between Twitter and the VOD giant couldn’t be greater – although the social platform has boosted its status as a streaming service by launching a series of video-oriented apps for Apple TV, Xbox One, and Fire TV.

However, Disney could have the best of both worlds by snapping up Netflix, and striking up ESPN content deals with Twitter. The latter’s NFL live-streaming numbers were impressive, but Disney doesn’t need to make a costly acquisition in order to take advantage of Twitter’s audience.

Additionally, there’s also the social platform’s glaring abuse problem, which could pose problems for Disney’s wholesome image. Whereas, Netflix offers the company direct access into the homes (and on to the devices) of millions of families around the globe.

Apple, Facebook and other suitors

At this stage, it is important to note that none of the previously mentioned companies have officially confirmed or denied their interest in Twitter. Aside from the trio of likely candidates, there are also a number other of names that have been linked to a possible takeover. Chief among the additional predicted suitors was Apple – until it too was ruled out by anonymous sources close to the company that spoke to Re/code.

Another name that’s been tacked on by the rumor mill is Facebook (simply because Twitter is one of its main rivals, although Zuckerberg and Co. currently seem preoccupied with emulating another competitor: Snapchat). Billionaire venture capitalist Chris Sacca – an early investor in Twitter – recently claimed Facebook shouldn’t be ruled out. “I can see Facebook looking at it and saying, ‘We’ve tried to copy it over and over again but we need it defensively, we can’t let it go to anyone else,'” Sacca told CNBC.

Then there’s Microsoft, which seems the least likely to make a bid considering its recent $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who owns a prominent stake in Twitter, was rumored to be planning a joint acquisition alongside fellow high-profile investor Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Al Saud, but that didn’t materialize.


This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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