Twitter takeover rumors send its market value soaring to $16B

Thursday Night Football's Sept. 15 matchup, live-streamed on Twitter. (Screenshot)(Twitter / NFL)

Disney, Alphabet and Salesforce are all being floated as possible suitors in a bid to acquire Twitter, according to rumors circulating over the past few days. The social media site’s market value jumped to $16 billion over the past few days as talk of a possible sale spiked. But would buying Twitter prove to be a profitable move, or a huge mistake?

Salesforce might add Twitter’s social media data to its own data collection for clients, Fortune says; however, acquisition rumors flattened its share price, indicating investors aren’t too keen on the idea.

Alphabet, nee Google, and Disney both have a stronger case for buying Twitter: Google has struggled to build a social media presence, and has the infrastructure and monitoring expertise to keep Twitter scaling and deal with its pretty horrific abuse problems; however, the search engine giant already is facing antitrust and privacy issues in Europe and may not be able to complete such a transaction.

Disney, in the meantime, is hunting for a way to keep ESPN profitable as viewers drop away from its traditional television platform. The media giant recently bought BAM Tech from MLB Advanced Media, ostensibly to provide an in-house streaming platform for a planned ESPN SVOD service. And while it has no influence on an acquisition at all, it’s interesting to note that Twitter is using BAM Tech to stream its Thursday Night Football NFL games.

Analyst firm Trefis envisions a bigger strategy for Disney, however. “A social media partner like Twitter could enable a cash-rich company like Disney to scale up its live streaming plans. It could also create an interactive media platform where players, expert commentators and fans can easily communicate and enjoy the game together via live stream and live tweets,” the firm said in a Forbes article.

Regardless of whether Twitter is acquired or not, any potential buyer would have to address the company’s ongoing issues – investors aren’t sure what its overall vision is; the social media platform has low subscriber growth; and competition in the segment from sites like Snapchat is fierce. Furthermore, Twitter has had trouble retaining its top talent, and CEO Jack Dorsey is still at odds with the board of directors, Forbes’ Miguel Helft noted.

In the meantime, Twitter is still drawing in a 2 million-plus viewing audience in the second week of streaming Thursday Night Football, likely an encouraging sign for the social media site’s gamble on a long-form, live-streamed event. How that bodes for its future – independent or not – remains to be seen.

For more:
- see this Forbes article
- see this Fortune article
- see this Recode article

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