Twitter charts solo path as Salesforce rules out takeover

Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:19pm EDT
 
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By Liana B. Baker and Jim Finkle

(Reuters) - Twitter Inc faces an uncertain future after Saleforce.com Inc (CRM.N: Quote), the last of the companies believed to be interested in buying the troubled social network, said on Friday that it would not make a bid.

Twitter (TWTR.N: Quote) and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey may now have to chart an independent course in the face of stagnant user growth, heavy losses and mounting competition from the likes of Facebook's (FB.O: Quote) Instagram and Snap Inc's Snapchat.

Dorsey is likely to face intense scrutiny over his continued role as CEO of both Twitter and the payment company Square (SQ.N: Quote), especially if the company's next quarterly report in late October is as weak as some analysts expect.

Twitter grew rapidly for years after it was founded in 2006, and has assumed a unique and influential position in the global media ecosystem. But the company has been plagued by management turmoil since its earliest days and has long been criticized for a lack of product innovation and, more recently, lack of user growth.

Twitter last month hired bankers to field acquisition offers and companies including Alphabet (GOOGL.O: Quote) and Disney (DIS.N: Quote) expressed interest, according to sources familiar with the process. Google and Disney decided not to proceed, the sources said, leaving Salesforce, a provider of cloud computing software for businesses, as the last reported bidder.

But Salesforce investors reacted poorly to the idea, sending the company's stock down when its interest in Twitter first emerged. Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff said on Friday he had ruled out a bid.

"In this case we've walked away. It wasn't the right fit for us," Benioff told the Financial Times in an interview, saying there were many reasons the fit was not right, including price and the culture of the company.

A spokeswoman for Salesforce confirmed the comments. Twitter declined to comment.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO --  People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken in  Warsaw September 27, 2013.   REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo