Suitors said to have stepped back, dimming sale prospects
Google, Salesforce and Disney had weighed offers for company
Twitter Inc. fell as much as 14 percent in early trading Monday after potential bidders were said over the weekend to have lost interest in making offers to buy the company.
The social media company had attracted interest in recent weeks from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Salesforce.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co., all of which had consulted with banks on whether to pursue a bid. Now all of those suitors are unlikely to make an offer, according to people familiar with the matter. On Friday, Twitter had planned to have a board meeting with outside advisers on a sale but canceled, one of the people said.
The stock was down 13 percent to $17.26 in trading before the official market open in New York. Shares traded in Frankfurt were down 13.5 percent to 15.31 euros. Twitter closed at $24.87 in New York on Oct. 5 after reports emerged that some companies were mulling an offer.
San Francisco-based Twitter had pursued a sale amid difficulty significantly boosting users or advertisers, though its leadership was split on the decision. The board had hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Allen & Co. to pursue a sale in September, Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey opposed a sale, while co-founder and board member Ev Williams supported one.
But investors have pressured the companies considering a takeover to back down, according to people familiar with the matter. At Salesforce’s investor conference last week, investors told executives they weren’t pleased with the notion of a Twitter buyout.
Twitter has considered other solutions, such as divestitures of assets not central to its business, people familiar with the matter have said.
If a buyer doesn’t appear, Twitter will to try to appeal to more users through a new strategy that emphasizes live video. The company has been entering partnerships for sports, politics and entertainment content — such as the National Football League’s Thursday night games — that it can stream alongside tweets related to the video. It may give people without Twitter accounts a new way to use the service, while allowing the company to share revenue on the video ads.