Twitter shares soar on renewed talk of takeover by Google

NEW YORK - More than US$1.5 billion (S$2.04 billion) was added to the value of Twitter on Tuesday following reports Google could launch a bid for the microblogging site.

Shares in Twitter jumped 4.8 per cent on reports the US company had hired Goldman Sachs as an adviser to fend off approaches, it said. Twitter's stock ended at US$52.87 per share, up more than 45 per cent so far this year and near a 52-week high for the company.

Two companies are believed to have contacted Twitter with "serious" interest, according to Briefing.com, with Google identified as one of those firms.

Twitter, which allows its users to post short messages online, has a market capitalisation of more than US$34 billion and 288 million monthly active users.

Google launched its own social network, Google+, in 2011, but despite racking up around 300 million monthly active users, it has struggled against rivals such as Twitter and Facebook, said the Telegraph in its report.

Buying Twitter would jumpstart Google's social network ambitions, and with the search giant sitting on a reported US$60 billion cash pile, it could easily afford to buy its rival, said the Telegraph.

It said neither Twitter nor Google returned requests for comment and that rumours that Google is interested in buying Twitter have circulated for years.