Tue, Jun. 21, 7:51 AM
Mon, Jun. 20, 12:21 PM
- "Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter (TWTR +3%)," says CEO Jack Dorsey, announcing the purchase of U.K.-based Magic Pony Technology for a reported $150M.
- In the machine-learning space, Twitter has previously purchased Madbits in 2014 and Whetlab last year.
- Magic Pony has developed techniques of using neural networks and machine learnings to provide expanded data for images, says Techcrunch.
- “Twitter has gone after video in a big way and buying Magic Pony demonstrates how important video is for them," says Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton.
Mon, Jun. 13, 8:53 AM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will fund the deal mostly by issuing debt, with LinkedIn's (NYSE:LNKD) results to be reported as part of MSFT's Productivity and Business Processes segment. EPS is expected to take a minimal hit in fiscals 2017 and 2018, but the deal should become accretive beginning in fiscal 2019.
- The purchase is expected to close this year.
- Microsoft still intends to complete its current $40B buyback plan by year-end.
- Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft chief Satya Nadella.
- Nadella: "Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”
- A conference call is scheduled for 11:45 ET.
- LNKD remains higher by 48.4% to $194.49. Reopened for trade, MSFT is lower by 3.6%.
- Previously: Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26.2B (June 13)
- Twitter next? TWTR is higher by 4% premarket.
Thu, Jun. 2, 10:17 PM
- Adding to the more colorful side of the stories about potential Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) bidders: Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) met with a management team led by Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer weeks ago to discuss a possible merger, the New York Post reports tonight.
- But though the teams talked for several hours, it looks to have been just an informational tire-kicking, as Twitter reportedly got out of the bidding process afterward.
- Indeed, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey didn't show up for the confab, and that company has enough on its plate, a source said: “They’re very scared their shareholders would be outraged ... which is not, quite frankly, an unfounded fear.”
- Bids are coming in for the second round in Yahoo's auction of core assets, with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) still widely believed to be a front-runner.
- Previously: SunTrust's Peck: Three pricing scenarios for Yahoo bids (Jun. 01 2016)
Tue, Jan. 26, 11:42 AM
- With Twitter's (TWTR -0.1%) market cap now near $11B and the company's major executive shakeup raising questions about its turnaround, Cantor's Youssef Squali thinks potential acquirers could start lining up.
- Squali: "With over 300M MAUs and a unique global offering of one-to-all broadcasting platform, we see a lot of value in TWTR for both technology and media companies alike ... There is no concentration of share ownership and no super-voting structure, with the top 3 shareholders owning 6.4%, 5.1%, and 5.0%, respectively." He sees Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Fox, Disney, Comcast, and Time Warner as potential bidders.
- Separately, GoPro (GPRO -1.9%) has announced its cameras will be able to stream footage in real-time via Twitter's Periscope livestreaming platform. The feature, which could be popular for sports broadcasting, is currently supported by Hero4 Black and Silver cameras (they feature built-in Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) connected to iPhones. It arrives shortly after Twitter began embedding Periscope broadcasts within its user Timelines.
- Yesterday: Twitter closes near $17 following departures
Jul. 14, 2015, 12:03 PM
- Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) momentarily jumped on a hoax article (made to look like a Bloomberg report) stating the company is working with bankers after receiving a buyout offer. Bloomberg has confirmed the story is fake.
- Shares nonetheless remain sharply higher on the day, and are up 6.3% over the last two days. Twitter, of course, is no stranger to jumping on M&A rumors.
- Q2 results arrive on July 28.
Jun. 17, 2015, 4:04 PM
- Whetlab was developing technologies meant to help companies adopt machine learning, an artificial intelligence field in which algorithms are used to detect patterns and make predictions. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) plans to use Whetlab to further its own machine learning efforts.
- Facebook and Google have been making huge machine learning investments in recent years. Areas of interest have included analyzing photos to automatically organize and tag them based on their content (e.g. Google Photos), and analyzing articles and news feed content to surface related material.
- Twitter could conceivably leverage machine learning to both organize/tag content (whether tweets or media content), and to sift through its data firehose to pull up interesting/noteworthy tweets for a user (that might make Chris Sacca happy).
- Recent Twitter acquisitions: Periscope, TellApart
May 27, 2015, 2:47 AM
- Several other Internet giants reached out and held early discussions about buying Flipboard in recent weeks, including Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL), although those talks involved ideas around how products would be integrated rather than centering around price, sources told WSJ.
- Talks with Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) went further, discussing a $1B+ all-stock deal, but those negotiations have largely stalled since April.
- Previously: Report: Twitter held talks to buy Flipboard for over $1B (May. 25 2015)
May 25, 2015, 7:58 PM
- Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) "has been engaged in an ongoing series of talks" to acquire popular mobile reader app Flipboard in a $1B+ all-stock deal, Re/code reports. However, the talks, which are said to be "pushed" by CFO Anthony Noto, appear to have stalled.
- Flipboard, whose apps provide content from dozens of sources (including Twitter) in a mobile-friendly magazine format, was valued at $800M in a 2013 funding round. The company reportedly has annual revenue of $50M, and earlier this year claimed 50M monthly active readers. However, Re/code's sources state growth has leveled off lately (leading execs to look for a buyer?).
- Twitter struck a deal with Flipboard in February to sell ads (Promoted Tweets) within the latter's apps, and well-respected Flipboard co-founder/CEO Mike McCue is a former Twitter board member. Today's report comes less than a month after Twitter plunged due to a revenue miss and guidance cut.
- Recent acquisitions: TellApart, Periscope/Niche
May 12, 2015, 12:52 PM
- Twitter (TWTR +0.8%) paid a combined $57.7M in stock and $28.9M in cash up-front to buy live-streaming app Periscope and social media talent agency Niche, the company discloses in its Q1 10-Q. Another $38.2M worth of stock payments and $3M worth of assumed stock option grants are contingent on acquired employees staying with the company for up to 48 and 45 months, respectively.
- Early returns on the Periscope purchase look good: Twitter disclosed on its Q1 CC the app (launched in late March on iOS to good reviews, not yet available on Android) saw 1M sign-ups in its first 10 days. It also saw a surge in popularity 10 days ago as many users live-streamed their viewing of the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight (Hollywood wasn't amused). The app was recently updated to allow users to register with a phone number instead of a Twitter account.
- Shortly after its Q1 report, Twitter disclosed it paid ~$500M in stock to buy e-commerce ad tech platform TellApart.
May 1, 2015, 7:05 PM
- A day after Fortune reported mobile news service Circa is seeking a buyer after failing to secure new funding, Business Insider reports Circa is in "serious acquisition talks" with Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), whose 302M MAUs often use its platform as a real-time news service.
- Circa's iOS/Android apps break down stories into mobile-friendly news bytes/summaries written by editors; users can scroll down to get additional info, and "follow" stories to receive updates in real-time. Though the startup has received plenty of attention in the tech press, uptake for its apps appears to be moderate; Google Play currently reports 100K-500K installs.
- The report comes 3 days after Twitter cratered in response to Q1 results and Q2/full-year guidance that triggered fresh questions about both user growth and monetization. In the aftermath, analyst Ben Thompson has argued (while making a case for new leadership) Twitter should "dramatically increase the number of applications — and thus the number of potential reasons — a potential user might create and maintain an active user account."
- Thompson: "Twitter could follow the Facebook strategy and build out a family of apps — one for messaging, another for news, others for specific events — and enhance the ways one could interact with Twitter content, whether that be through comments, private communities, etc ... Facebook is about people you know, and Twitter about those that share your interests. Everything else — including all the quixotic features that Twitter holds dear — are implementation details."
Apr. 30, 2015, 12:19 AM
- In an 8-K filing, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) discloses it's issuing up to 12.6M shares to buy e-commerce ad tech platform TellApart, based on a Tuesday close of $42.27. However, the number of shares issued will be based on Twitter's closing prices "over a period of time" prior to the acquisition's closing, and is subject to multiple potential adjustments.
- Based on Tuesday's close, a 12.6M-share deal for TellApart, whose acquisition was announced in tandem with Twitter's Q1 results, would be worth $533M. Based on a Wednesday close of $38.49, it would be worth $491M.
- Following an 8.9% drop in Wednesday trading, Twitter is down 25% since its results first leaked out on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday's decline came amid 4 downgrades (from Axiom, Janney, Rosenblatt, and Barclays) and a slew of target cuts.
- Barclays' Paul Vogel (downgrade to Equal Weight): "One of our biggest concerns from the call was around the commentary that Twitter does not have a supply problem, but a demand problem. They are not currently delivering enough clicks/engagement to many advertisers to warrant those advertisers increasing their spend on Twitter...." He notes some advertisers limited their spending in response to higher ad price bids, and that Twitter's efforts to improve ad quality by using its card format hurt click rates.
- Wells Fargo's Peter Stabler, focusing on user engagement: "[D]espite a significantly improved onboarding experience, Twitter’s core product remains too challenging for casual users, leading to poor new user retention rates." Co-founder Evan Williams thinks Twitter provides "too much information" to users. "The goal has never been to show people in reverse chronological order, it’s been to tell people what’s happening."
- Pivotal Research's Brian Wieser went contrarian and upgraded to Buy, arguing "Twitter's long-term potential as a differentiated niche offering in digital advertising is mostly uncharged." Meanwhile, embattled CEO Dick Costolo insists he isn't worried about job security.
Apr. 7, 2015, 11:14 AM
- Vague M&A rumors have propelled Twitter (TWTR - $33.6B market cap) above $52. Barron's reports hearing of chatter that two companies have approached Twitter with "serious" interest.
- Meanwhile, Twitter is updating its Quote Tweet button to let users add up to 116 characters to a post that's being retweeted and replied to. Until now, quoted text had to be included within a post, thus counting towards a 140-character limit. The feature is initially rolling out to iPhone and Web users; Android support will arrive later.
- Twitter rallied in January on rumors Carl Icahn had taken a stake; Icahn denied them soon afterwards. 25.9M shares were shorted as of March 13.
Mar. 10, 2015, 3:03 AM
- In another move bolstering its video capabilities, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has purchased Periscope, which has been developing a live-video streaming app.
- The social-media company paid slightly less than $100M for the startup, sources told WSJ, making Periscope one of Twitter’s more expensive purchases.
- The report comes as Meerkat, another app which allows users to display live video from their phones on Twitter, took off, attracting 60K users in the eight days since it launched.
- Previously: Twitter reportedly looking to buy live streaming app Periscope (Mar. 05 2015)
Mar. 5, 2015, 1:11 PM
- TechCrunch reports Twitter (TWTR -0.3%) has been in talks to buy Periscope, maker of an app (currently in beta) that lets users stream live video via their smartphone cameras. One source says Twitter could pay $100M, but another says the deal is "worth a fraction of that."
- The report comes as Meerkat, a live streaming app that relies heavily on Twitter integration - a tweet is sent out as soon as a user starts a live stream, and any of the user's Twitter followers who have installed Meerkat are immediately notified - sees strong early momentum after launching last month. Live streaming fits with Twitter's efforts to position itself as an ideal platform for staying abreast of what's happening (and is being discussed) the world over in real-time.
- Twitter recently launched a 30-second video platform, and its Vine 6-second video platform now handles over 1.5B video views per day. The company has also rolled out multiple video ad products to court brand advertisers.
- Separately, Twitter has announced an expansion of its partnership with online/offline ad data provider Acxiom (ACXM -0.3%). Twitter advertisers will be able to use 135 Acxiom audience categories (covering ad markets such as retail, auto, and financial services) to target users based on "behavior, life stages, demographics, and household information."
- Acxiom: "Twitter’s behavior targeting will enable auto advertisers to select audiences who are in the market for a new car, and consumer package goods companies can reach audiences who have purchased their product category in the past." Twitter already relies on Acxiom to help advertisers use their existing customer data to target users.
Jan. 20, 2015, 12:53 AM
- ZipDial's platform pushes content to mobile users in emerging markets (especially India) who intentionally place a "missed call" to a brand's number - the user calls and immediately hangs up, and is later sent content and promos via SMS, voice messages, and app notifications.
- Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has bought the startup for an undisclosed sum; TechCrunch previously reported of a $30M-$40M purchase price.
- ZipDial claims to have "achieved more than one billion connections with brands across 60 million users," via clients such as Disney, P&G, and Colgate. Its solution has been tailored for emerging markets consumers who are frugal with their use of mobile data and/or have intermittent data access.
- Both companies suggest ZipDial's platform, which has already been used for various Twitter promos, will be deployed to broaden the reach of Twitter's content in emerging markets. ZipDial CEO Valorie Wagoner: "Our ambitious goal is to make Twitter’s unique, great content accessible to 100% of the world’s mobile users." Facebook is also trying hard to reach the same consumers.
- Prior Twitter acquisitions: TapCommerce, Namo Media, CardSpring
- Update: Bloomberg reports Twitter paid ~$30M for ZipDial.
Twitter, Inc. is a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. It provides a network that connects users to people, information, ideas, opinions, and news. The company's application provides social networking services and micro-blogging services through mobile... More
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