Twitter Could Seal the Deal in October

TwitterTwitter Inc appears to be in a hurry to wrap up a sale this month, with sources saying the social media giant has given interested buyers an October 27 deadline to conclude sale negotiations.

People who are familiar with the matter told Reuters that the company is seeking to conclude a sale by the time it reveals its third-quarter earnings. The move is believed to point to the interest of Chief Executive Jack Dorsey to let stakeholders have urgent clarity on the future direction of the online social networking service.

Companies which are reported to be interested in acquiring Twitter include Salesforce.com Inc, Google parent company Alphabet Inc and Walt Disney Co.

Speculation of a possible sale has been on for several months, following three successive quarters of lack of growth in Twitter’s user base. The service has been losing investors after revealing in July that it was finding it increasingly difficult in the competition for advertising dollars with rival networks, indicating third-quarter sales won’t be up to the level forecast by analysts.

The social networking site has not been able to keep up with rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat. Although it has been around for much longer than the other two services, the latter now boast larger user bases. Twitter has experienced great difficulty in growing revenue and profit despite having around 313 million in average monthly active users.

The target of closing a sale by October 27 is a rather ambitious one for the company, though. It only started considering a sale in September. Majority of merger and acquisition deals take longer length of time to be wrapped up.

Sources who spoke to Reuters said the microblogging service has started to draw up a shortlist of potential buyers, with Salesforce.com seemingly in the lead. They however said the process is unlikely to end in a sale by the set date.

Neither Twitter nor any of the companies reported to be interested in the acquisition have agreed to comment on a possible deal.

Both Google and Disney would not go ahead with a bid to acquire the social networking service, according to the technology news website Recode.

Twitter shares went on sale in November 2013 at a price of $26 per unit. The share price reached a price of more than $74 a little over a month after the initial public offering. But it has been on a decline for many months. The company’s market value slumped to an all-time low level of less than $10 billion in February.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, Twitter was not able to measure up to sales expectations of market analysts in the first two quarters of this year. It has not been able to generate a net profit in 11 quarters. This has caused some investors to part company with the social media platform.

Chris Sacca, a major Twitter investor, told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that he has started selling his shares and would want the company to be acquired.

“I’ve definitely sold some Twitter shares,” he said. “I don’t own as many as I used to because I’m not an idiot, but I own more than I should because I’m an idiot.”

Salesforce could shift the focus of Twitter to customer service communications or mine its database for business intelligence, if it succeeds in acquiring the social network.

Twitter expects to receive binding acquisition offers in the next two weeks.