Twitter shares fall after interest said to cool off by potential bidders

Twitter had attracted interest in recent weeks from different companies, including Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Walt Disney.
Twitter had attracted interest in recent weeks from different companies, including Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Walt Disney. PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) - Twitter fell as much as 15 per cent Monday after potential bidders were said 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 and Walt Disney, 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. Last 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 14 per cent to US$17.05 (S$23.39) at 10:39 a.m. in New York. Twitter closed at US$24.87 in New York on Oct. 5 after reports emerged that some companies were mulling an offer.

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 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.