Twitter Shares Plunge as Potential Bidders Walk Away

By Emel Akan, Epoch Times
October 7, 2016 9:16 am Last Updated: October 7, 2016 9:16 am

Shares of Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) have been on a roller-coaster since takeover rumors started on Sept. 23. After gaining more than 30 percent, shares crashed on Oct. 6 following a media report that potential bidders may drop out.

Shares plummeted 20 percent in one day, wiping out $3.5 billion of Twitter‘s market value.

The company received expressions of interest from suitors including Google, Salesforce.com, Microsoft, Fox, Comcast, CBS, Disney, and Verizon, according to recent media reports. Twitter was reportedly working with the investment bank Goldman Sachs to organize a competitive bidding process.

However, anonymous sources told a news website Recode that Google and Disney would not bid for the social network. Both companies were considered most likely contenders. Apple is not interested either, according to the same report.

This leaves Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) as the only potential bidder, according to Reuters.

It is not clear whether Salesforce will actually bid, wrote Raimo Lenschow, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

Investors of Salesforce have reacted negatively since Sept. 23 when the company made headlines as a potential bidder of Twitter.

“Salesforce does not have enough cash on hand to finance an acquisition of this size out of its own wallet. Nor does it have enough capacity for debt,” stated Lenschow in his report.

He does not see a compelling strategic rationale for Salesforce to buy Twitter.

Twitter is asking for at least $30 billion, according to another report by Recode published on Sept. 23. This is more than twice the current market value of $14 billion.

The 10-year-old messaging platform Twitter has been under pressure since April of last year. Despite being a niche platform, it has many problems, including ad revenues, user growth, and low user engagement. Twitter lost more than 70 percent of is value since its peak in Jan. 2014.

The company lags far behind rival Facebook in key metrics. In July, Twitter announced it reached 313 million monthly users. In comparison, Facebook has 1.7 billion users.

The company announced disappointing results in the second quarter on July 26. It missed estimates on revenue, growing only 20 percent year-on-year in the second quarter compared to 36 percent growth in the first quarter. Advertising revenue—the company’s most important revenue segment—deteriorated significantly.

According to media reports, Twitter wants to finalize the bidding process before it releases its third quarter earnings on Oct. 27.