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Depending on the New Owner, Twitter Could Take Many Forms


09/27/2016


Depending on the New Owner, Twitter Could Take Many Forms
Twitter -may end up heading in one of several distinctly different directions depending on who ends up paying for it with speculation mounting that Twitter Inc will soon have a new corporate owner. The 10-year-old social networking service has long struggled to define its core purpose.
 
Interests in Twitter, which is working with investment banks to evaluate its options, have reportedly been shown by companies including Salesforce.com Inc, Walt Disney Co and Alphabet Inc's Google.
 
Twitter might turn its focus to mining its database of tweets for business intelligence and to customer service communications with Salesforce.com. The social and news dimensions of Twitter would most likely be the focus of Google. Twitter might be looked at as a way to expand the reach of its sports and entertainment programming by Disney by contrast.
 
While sources have said that Twitter is moving to formalize the process, it is not clear how quickly Twitter might approach a sale. Twitter’s market value is more than $16 billion after talk of a sale drove the stock up over the past few days and a deal is by no means assured in light of the company's uncertain financial prospects and steep price tag.
 
Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey declined to comment on possible sale talks while speaking at a conference in Washington on Monday.
 
Unlike Twitter, Salesforce.com’s main product is aimed at businesses users, not consumers and is run by CEO Marc Benioff and is focused on cloud-based sales and marketing software. Twitter could become a corporate tool used to power sentiment analysis and nurture customer relationships under Salesforce.com. Twitter "firehose" is already used for its new artificial intelligence platform, Einstein by Salesforce.com.
 
"It would give them the social graph and a better idea of how social media relates to its customers," said Ryan Holmes, chief executive of Hootsuite, a private technology firm that helps brands and consumers manage their social media accounts.
 
Companies such as airlines or telecom firms could gain more understanding of their business challenges by getting better insights into what sort of conversations companies might be having with their customers if Salesforce.com owned all of Twitter's data, Holmes also said.
 
Over time the value of the data Twitter can provide can get limited as many Twitter users - especially newer ones - are not active tweeters. As opposed to buying the whole company, much of the benefit of Twitter's data can be gained from licensing its trove of tweets by Salesforce.com. Salesforce.com’s shares are down 6 percent since news of the company's interest flared up last week as its  investors are already spooked by the speculation it could acquire Twitter.
 
Google's online advertising-driven business model could quickly fit Twitter. While filling a gap for Google, which has struggled with social media, ads could be sold across paid search, YouTube, display and mobile on Twitter.
 
Media companies such as Disney, which owns sports channel ESPN could get interested by Twitter's foray into live streaming of National Football League games and its presence in news gathering.
 
"The world of media is shifting to mobile and these newer platforms are becoming the future," BTIG's Greenfield said.
 
(Source:www.reutrs.com)