Is Disney preparing an offer to buy Twitter? Seems so, according to a Bloomberg report that says the entertainment giant has hired a financial adviser who’s exploring a possible bid for the embattled social network service.
Twitter shares, which had been down, jumped 3.6% after the report. Others believed to be interested in the company include Salesforce.com and Google.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been a member of the Disney board since 2013, and serves on its Governance and Nominating Committee.
BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield has said that Disney would make “the most sense strategically” as a suitor for Twitter “given the importance of sports and the need to build a far larger daily-use case (homescreen) presence on mobile devices.”
Last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger told an investor conference that Twitter “did a very good job” the previous week streaming the Jets-Bills Thursday Night Football game. It was powered by Major League Baseball’s BAMTech; Disney recently bought a third of the operation in a deal that provides a path to control it.
The platform “was very stable,” although he added that “you have to think about monetization capabilities of these new entrants.”
Investors have been buzzing about a possible Twitter sale since Friday, when CNBC’s David Faber reported that the board is “said to be largely desirous of a deal” and has “engaged in conversations with potential suitors.”
The company’s stock has lost about 28% of its value since last October as investors questioned Twitter’s growth prospects. Many non-users are put off by its collection of protocols and symbols.
RBC Capital Markets’ influential analyst Mark Mahaney downgraded Twitter shares to underperform last week, 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.