Salesforce rules out Twitter bid
Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff on Friday ruled out buying Twitter, leaving the social network with no clear suitors.
The San Francisco enterprise software company had been rumored in recent weeks to be the front-runner to snap up Twitter, with analysts saying that Salesforce could mine Twitter’s trove of user data to benefit its customer relationship management tools.
But Benioff put an end to the speculation, telling the Financial Times: “You’re going to look at price, you’re going to look at culture, you’re going to look at everything. … In this case we’ve walked away. It wasn’t the right fit for us.”
Twitter stock fell 5.12% at close to $16.88 on the news. Salesforce stock rose 5.15% to $74.27.
With other potential acquirers such as Google and Disney bowing out, it is unclear whether the social network is still looking for a buyer.
A spokeswoman for Twitter, Kristin Binns, said the company does not comment on rumor and speculation.
Salesforce said it had nothing to add beyond Benioff’s comments.
After losing out on LinkedIn to Microsoft in June (Microsoft paid $26.2 billion for the professional networking site), analysts and tech insiders believed that Salesforce would pursue Twitter to bolster its cloud computing business and better position itself to compete with Microsoft.
The rumor sent Twitter’s stock up but Salesforce’s stock down, because in addition to inheriting Twitter’s data, an acquisition also meant Salesforce would have to take on Twitter’s problems.
The company was built on the premise of free speech, but it has also earned a reputation for harboring harassment.
Twitter has long struggled with growth. Despite being publicly traded since 2013, it continues to operate at a loss. While its competitor Facebook has seen soaring user numbers every quarter, with approximately 1.71 billion monthly active users, Twitter has seen meager growth, averaging 313 million monthly active users. Even Santa Monica newcomer Snapchat, which has only been around for five years, is estimated to have 300 million monthly active users.
Those lagging user numbers have drawn Wall Street’s scrutiny, with investors putting pressure on the company to grow like its competitors.
The micro-blogging firm has made attempts to reinvigorate growth, bringing back founding Chief Executive Jack Dorsey last year with the hope of turning its fortunes around.
In the year since his return, Dorsey, who also serves as chief executive of financial services firm Square, has tried to make Twitter a destination for instantaneous content. His service launched a “Moments” tab intended to make the platform more accessible and engaging, and has entered partnerships to increase the amount of streaming content on its platform, including a deal with the NFL to stream football games. Yet those measures have done little to move the needle for the company.
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2:10 p.m.: This article was updated to provide more recent stock prices for Twitter and Salesforce.
1:20 p.m.: This article has been updated to provide context about Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition and Twitter’s ongoing harassment problem.
This article was originally published at 1 p.m.
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