The bidding war for Twitter Inc. (TWTR) continues to grow 'curiouser and curiouser.'
Within the last ten days, the social media company’s stock price shot up by approximately 25% on the back of rumors about a potential bidding war between tech and media heavyweights, ranging from Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) to Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google (GOOG) to the Walt Disney Company (DIS), where the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey is a board member. (See also: Twitter May Receive Bids This Week).
However, tech publication Recode reported after trading hours on Wednesday that three potential bidders from that list may not be interested. This caused the stock to fall 9.21% during after hours trading after racking up gains of approximately 6% over the day. Today, the stock continued to slide and was down 16.28% in pre-market trading.
The publication quotes anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter as saying that Google was “not moving forward with an effort to buy it at this time.” The sources also crossed off Apple Inc. (AAPL) from the list of possible suitors for Twitter. They said the company should have “low expectations” regarding a possible bid from Apple. A later report published on the same site quotes unnamed sources as saying that Disney also is not pursuing a bid for the social network. The entertainment conglomerate was said to be interested in the social media network as a distribution channel for its content.
That leaves only Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) and Salesforce from among the list of company names that were said to be interested in Twitter. Both companies also faced off against each other in the bid for LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) earlier this year. Even though Salesforce offered a higher price for the company, Microsoft won that bid by making its offer an all-cash deal. (See also: Microsoft Joins List Of Companies Interested In Twitter)
While the synergy between LinkedIn’s professional network and Microsoft’s business-focused offerings was clear, Twitter’s value to the Redmond company is still unclear. That it has stayed silent on a possible bid has not helped matters. On the other hand, Salesforce has aggressively courted the media in making its interest in Twitter known. For example, a WSJ report about the matter outlines Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s aggressive pursuit of Twitter and the value that its data brings to Salesforce’s service. He also appeared on CNBC yesterday to comment on reports about a possible bid.
The Recode post surmises that bankers are “trying to gin up excitement around a sale of Twitter, creating as much interest as possible to spike up the (company’s stock) price.” They may have a point. Analysts commenting on acquisition rumors have cautioned against the price spike and estimated a share price of between $17 and $18 (given Twitter’s negative P/E valuation) for an acquisition. (See also: Analysts Weigh In On Twitter's Rise).