Twitter stock plummeted 20% on Thursday, following reports that potential bidders were not interested in buying the company. Twitter has seen a series a dismal quarterly reports in the past year, which show little growth in active users or revenue. However, Twitter stock climbed in September when it was reported that Twitter was considering selling itself to another company. These latest reports suggest Twitter may have to remain independent, at least in the immediate future.
On Wednesday, Recode reported that a few companies which were considered likely bidders were not interested in acquiring Twitter, based on the statements of inside sources. Earlier reports suggested Google was considering a bid on the social media company, but Recode’s sources claim Google is not interested in buying Twitter at this time. Apple was also considered a potential buyer, but inside sources state that Apple is more interested in creating consumer products than running social media platforms.
Disney also considered making a bid on the social media company. One reason is that Disney CEO Bob Iger is friendly with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Another is that Disney is looking for other distribution platforms as television begins to waver. Twitter’s recent push into live streaming of sporting events could give it synergy with ESPN, which is owned by Disney. However, sources told Recode that Disney has also decided not to bid on Twitter.
If these reports are accurate, that only leaves Salesforce as a potential buyer. However, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff downplayed the possibility that his company might buy Twitter when he spoke to CNBC on Wednesday. “It’s in our interest to look at everything,” he said, “We have to go deep on everything. We have to understand what is possible for our shareholders and what isn’t. But in the scheme of things, if you look back at my track record as a CEO, I think you’ll find that while I look at a lot of things, I actually pass on most.”
Salesforce has a very good reason to be wary of a Twitter purchase. Analysts at Mizuho suggest that buying Twitter could wipe out 20% to 25% of Salesforce’s value, or about $12 billion to $17 billion. They believe Twitter would not bring in any short-term value for the company, and that Salesforce would have to invest in order to see any growth. They did not consider any synergistic benefits of acquiring Twitter, because the two companies “are completely different businesses.” After the report was published on Wednesday, Salesforce stock fell 8%, but it recovered most of its value by Thursday, possibly due to Benioff’s appearance on CNBC.