Twitter soars on report of acquisition bids

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter shares soared Wednesday on a published report that the struggling social media company will begin receiving acquisition bids this week.

Among the likely bidders is CEO Marc Benioff considers Twitter an "unpolished jewel," people told the Wall Street Journal.  Alphabet's Google and Walt Disney may also bid for Twitter.

Twitter has told potential acquirers it wants to wrap up buyout talks by the time it reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 27, according to Reuters.

Twitter declined to comment.

Twitter's steep price tag — $20 billion or more — could make a deal less likely.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey returned to the helm last year to revive the company's sagging fortunes. User growth and revenue have flattened, prompting Twitter to engage in talks with potential buyers.

"We see many potentially interested in buying Twitter but continue to wonder whether it will be able to command a substantial premium given the recent significant appreciation and well-documented growth challenges," said CFRA analyst Scott Kessler who is maintaining a "hold" rating on the stock.

Shares of Salesforce closed down 6% to $68.42, on the speculation that it will bid for Twitter. Twitter shares closed up 6% to $24.87.

Of the 41 sell-side analysts tracking the stock, five rate it a buy, one outperform, 25 hold, three underperform and seven sell, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Driving interest in Twitter: Data, and reams of it. That data could help Salesforce improve its software that businesses use to manage customer relationships. For Google, Twitter could unlock a trove of data that has been walled off with the rise of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

Longtime investor Chris Sacca told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that he's disappointed in Dorsey and wants Twitter to sell itself. Sacca says he has sold much of his stake in Twitter.

"I've definitely sold some Twitter shares. 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," Sacca said.



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