It’s hard to believe that Twitter could have been bigger than Facebook. Yet at a time where Facebook was constantly under fire for shoddy privacy practices and exploiting its users, Twitter just had its 140 characters per tweet to offer and nothing else. It was simple, effective, and people were crazy for it.
Fast forward to the end of 2013, when Twitter became publicly traded on the stock market. On its first trading day, $TWTR opened at $26 per share and closed at $44.90, doing well for the next few months. At one point, you could buy a share of Twitter stock for a record-high of $69. Things looked good for the social media site.
Soon enough, however, Twitter experienced their fair share of problems. Longtime CEO Dick Costolo stepped down and former CEO Jack Dorsey took over. The service wasn’t gaining as many users as they should have, and it was still having problems with users abusing/harassing other users without punishment. Worst of all, the platform’s ad business — the main source of the company’s income — wasn’t doing so hot.
Now, there are rumors of a possible Twitter buyout. Since the company is having trouble gaining users, selling ads, and exploring ways to make money past simply displaying tweets, several supposedly interested companies could acquire a controlling portion of the company’s stock and (hopefully) bring it to profitability.
This begs the question: how can Twitter actually make money? These five companies might have the answer.
Microsoft is no Apple, but they’re no slouch, either. They’re just one company rumored to be bidding for Twitter.
The software giant recently bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion (pending approval), and have a yearly income in the tens of billions. Microsoft could keep Twitter running independently, while integrating it into their products to gain more users. After all, more people using Twitter means more ads to view, and more ads means more money.
Verizon is also in the running.
They just acquired AOL last year, are in the process of trying to acquire Yahoo, and are rumored to be in the running for a Twitter takeover. Verizon’s thinking on these acquisitions is simple: they’re a big, dumb telecommunications business. Adding media properties will help Verizon diversify its business and seek success in other avenues than just phone and internet services.
Salesforce acquired $4 billion worth of businesses in 2016 alone, and is known to be pretty acquisition-happy.
They’re one of the surprising companies mentioned in recent acquisition rumors and reports. Salesforce’s products, however, work primarily with businesses. They don’t deal much with consumer-facing products, and Twitter is a consumer-facing product. They would be able to integrate Twitter’s technology into their lead-generating and team management software, but this might drive the existing Twitter users away. Judging by how their stock performed since these rumors started, Salesforce shareholders aren’t too keen on the idea of having the company buy Twitter.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, makes billions on ads in their search platform and across the internet.
What they’re not good at is creating a social network site that people will actually care about. That’s why they’re in the rumored Twitter acquisition race. Google+ is still around, but nobody uses it. Acquiring Twitter would allow Google to have a social network and work their ads into it, which seems like a guaranteed recipe for success.
Last but not least, Disney is rumored to be a bidder in the proposed takeover of Twitter.
Why? Well, they bid on everything from the video game rights for the NFL to the rights to make a Seal Team 6 movie. In terms of large acquisitions, they’ve bought Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel, just to name a few media companies. Acquiring Twitter would help them become a stronger online destination for entertainment and sports (they do own ESPN, after all), which would help their declining cable properties and pretty much all of their brands.
In the meantime, Twitter’s stock is doing fairly well. Its share price increased by 25% in the last two trading days.
For Twitter shareholders, a potential acquisition means the potential to get more for their shares than they’re currently worth.
It’s important to remember that these talks of acquisitions are simply rumors and nothing more. None of these companies have confirmed any talks of acquisitions, or even talking about acquisitions. One thing is for sure, though: Twitter either needs to make money soon…or find someone else to do it for them.
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