Twitter’s woes with stagnant user growth and lack of profitability has left it under a gray cloud of insecurity for some time now. And after a distracting month in acquisition talks, it looks like their last ray of hope for an easy way out has finally faded as well.
Names like Google, Apple, Disney, and Salesforce were all speculated to be in buyout talks with the beleaguered social media company which some analysts said could be sold for $12 billion. But those companies have all since walked away from any deal, leaving Twitter to figure out how to pull itself out of its funk on its own.
The employees are probably weary from all the unfruitful talks. Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey thanked them and tried to rally their spirits without ever mentioning the failed acquisition in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg. He then went on to lay out his vision for Twitter as the “people’s news network”. Despite their problems, they’re still a spring of unique content from celebrities and thought leaders that get discussed and incorporated into the daily news cycle.
“People choose us for news because we’re the fastest. Fastest to get news, and fastest to share news with the whole world,” he wrote. “Now let’s strive to be the first. The first place people check to see what’s happening…and the first place to break what’s happening.”
The company’s recent moves indicate Twitter is trying to become more of a traditional media company with video content. And they’re pushing for more live-streaming deals to increase their media offerings. They’ve now rolled out live-streaming of NFL games and covered the recent presidential debates and both draw in respectable numbers of eyeballs to the platform with the second presidential debates bringing 369K viewers. They’ve even cut a deal with Buzzfeed to stream election night coverage. But it’s unclear if the videos will make any dent on their current trajectory and attract the new users they seek so desperately. We don’t know yet how many of these viewers are just existing Twitter users.
Twitter management previously pushed for acquisition negotiations to finish by October 27th, the day they are scheduled to release Q3 earnings. It’s a small hint that we may be seeing a disappointing earnings report otherwise. Rough days are probably still ahead.
When acquisition talks were still going on, Salesforce was considered one of the leading contenders to make a bid. CEO Marc Benioff made it no secret he saw potential in Twitter as a fixer upper. That is, until Salesforce’s shareholders voiced disapproval over the deal. They just didn’t understand how an enterprise CRM company could benefit from buying a consumer-facing social media platform. In the end, Benioff had to relent and pass on a buyout.
Disney was another serious contender that went as far as hiring two two investment banks to evaluate potential deals. But they reportedly walked away because of Twitter’s huge problem with trolls and bullies. Twitter is known for harboring trolls more than any other social media platform due to its slower reaction times helping victims of attacks and lack of features to manage inappropriate speech. Disney was worried their own family-friendly reputation could get dragged into the mud by association.