Twitter sale to conclude before Q3 earnings report

The social media platform has said an acquisition deal will be confirmed by October 27, when its third quarter earnings report is due.
Written by Jonathan Chadwick, Contributor on

Twitter is understood to have told potential acquirers that it wants to conclude negotiations to sell itself by the time it reports its third quarter earnings on October 27.

Binding acquisition offers are due in the next two weeks and Twitter is said to have narrowed down the list of potential acquirers, having only started to consider a sale last month.

Potential buyers are Salesforce, Google parent Alphabet, and Disney. Salesforce already has a partnership with Twitter dating back to 2012 to feed data into its analytics systems, and with the company, Twitter could look to mine its database of tweets for business intelligence.

Google and Disney both reportedly hired a financial advisor to pursue the purchase. Twitter could help revive Google's social media efforts after the limited success of Google Plus, while Disney may look to expand more into sports and entertainment.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has also been part of Disney's board since 2013.

CNBC also claimed that Microsoft is among the potential suitors.

Recode said Twitter could sell for between $18 billion to $30 billion, however unnamed sources have cautioned that the process may not result in a sale.

Twitter and Salesforce declined to comment while Disney and Google did not respond to requests for comment.

Twitter has struggled to generate profit during its existence. The company missed Wall Street expectations in both the first and second quarters of 2016. Last quarter it posted a net loss of $107 million, or 15 cents per share. At the time it said it expects third-quarter revenue in the range of $590 million to $610 million.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, it has been unable to record net profit in 11 quarters.

It has also failed to keep pace with rivals, notably Facebook Inc's Instagram and Snapchat. Both now boast more users than Twitter by most measures, even though they are much newer, and advertisers have begun to migrate their ad dollars accordingly.

The social media platform has 313 million monthly active users and is still a key source for breaking news. Earlier this month, it announced a partnership with Cheddar to stream daily business news shows, part of efforts to boost its live-streaming content deals to boost revenue.

"Twitter is the fastest way to find out what's happening in the world, and to engage in the live conversation about it," said Anthony Noto, Twitter's chief financial officer. "Partnering with Cheddar will give people on Twitter another way to watch and discuss the day's top stories as they unfold live all on one platform."

Earlier this year, it won the rights to stream Thursday night NFL games, beating competition from Amazon, Verizon, and Facebook. As part of the deal, Twitter streams the games for free around the world, without requiring viewers to sign in. It also signed deals to live-stream the NHL and MLB.

In July, it announced a partnership with Bloomberg to stream TV shows.

Twitter has made a number of efforts to simplify the user experience to attract new users and increase revenue. In August last year it lifted the character limit on direct messages from 140 to 10,000. Last month, it relaxed restrictions on tweets by not including photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and quote tweets in the 140-character limit.

Twitter went public in November 2013 at $26 a share. Shares peaked at $74 just over a month later, but have steadily fallen since.

With AAP

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