Three years after this social media sole communication platform went public and IPO, Twitter seems to be up for sale. But haven’t we seen this story before? In fact, the similarities with Twitter today and what happened to Yahoo many years back are very striking. Like Yahoo’s fate, in reality, if Twitter doesn’t sell soon, it could face stagnation in which the company will face no progress and company morale will be drained by never ending takeover talks. In fact, right now, Twitter is having a rotating cast of CEO’s and executives with little direction and this once powerful platform once seen as the future of internet is now struggling with questionable strategies for growth and an identity crisis.
This might end with Twitter eventually being bought for a tiny fraction of its peak value. Everyone may recall that back in 2008 Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $42 billion and that offer got rebuffed by Yahoo’s leadership. 8 years later Verizon buys Yahoo for $4.8 billion. Before 2008 Yahoo was seen to have a market cap of at least $125 billion. To date, Twitter is estimated to have a maximum market cap of around $20 billion.
However, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey and the Twitter board think they can get double that amount; instead they may be setting themselves up to pull a drama like the one Yahoo went through. Twitter can’t be faulted for at least improving the company on its own. After its initial first year success, it has faced plunging growth and cash problems, it has attempted restructuring that led to layoffs, and partnering with mobile ad platform MoPub and short-video service Vine, as well as live-streaming with the NFL and MLB. It even live-streamed the recent presidential debate. However, in spite of all this happening similar to what Yahoo went through before falling through, Twitter remains an attractive asset. It’s still an invaluable tool for news gatherers, celebrities, world leaders, activists, and marketers, despite the small base of active users. Remember that Twitter was instrumental in the social media campaign of Barack Obama and was recently instrumental in promoting Donald Trump all the way to the GOP presidential nomination.
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Two possible buyers, Google and Salesforce, know this and have been keenly interested in acquiring the platform. However, since both have been turned away by Twitter, a new and more aggressive player has been making the round of banks to see if buying Twitter is viable.
Disney is now pursuing Twitter as it sees the social media platform as the perfect complement to Disney’s other media companies. Also, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also happens to be on the board of Disney, so the two companies are truly friends. Aside from its film and theme park businesses, Disney also owns a conglomerate of media entities such as ABC and ESPN. Having Twitter to complement them as a media communication platform could bring potential growth and sales to Disney.