Shares of Twitter are up more than 20% in early trading today after CNBC’s David Faber reported that the social media company has been receiving “expressions of interest” from several tech companies considering making a bid for the company.
Faber said on the network’s Squawk on the Street that sources close to the situation are telling him the Twitter board is “said to be largely desirous of a deal.” No sale is imminent, he said, though the company has “engaged in conversations with potential suitors.”
He mentioned companies including Salesforce and Google among the interested parties.
Twitter shares had lost nearly 48% of their value during the past 12 months when it reported mixed Q2 earnings in June. Last week, the stock went up fractionally after it unveiled the launch of its free app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One ahead of its debut live-streaming 10 NFL Thursday night games.
Last week’s Jets-Bills Thursday Night Football matchup — the first NFL game ever streamed on Twitter — drew more than 2.1 million viewers to the service, with an audience of 243,000 on average watching and about 22 minutes of the game.
But RBC Capital Markets’ influential analyst Mark Mahaney downgraded Twitter shares to underperform Thursday, dropping his target price by $3 to $14 after a survey of 1,100 ad professionals showed that 28% intend to decrease their spending on the platform. It was “the weakest result we have seen and the first time we have seen a negative skew towards spending,” he said.
The survey also showed that 30% don’t allocate any dollars to Twitter, an increase from 25% in February.
In July, Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter said that Twitter “has a leadership void, has made little progress in making its service easy for the uninitiated to use, and has as yet to convince advertisers of the value of the platform.” The ad base could “grow dramatically” if Twitter “adopts a strategy that will drive user growth and greater engagement.” But he said “Twitter management appears not to recognize this.”