Why Would Anyone Want to Buy Twitter

Three big names dominated the news cycle at the turn of the month because of their prospective bidding on the struggling Twitter: Disney, Google, and Salesforce. Scant days later, Google and Disney both backed out, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has confirmed to the Financial Times that his company is now also out of the bidding.

While other companies for sale no doubt go through the same in-or-out process, this back and forth does nothing for Twitter’s name; a name that has done little to inspire confidence in its business for many months now. After a while, you have to wonder why any company would be interested in buying Twitter. And wonder we did.

Here are eight arguments (four on each side) for why companies should or should not buy the fledgling social network.

Why to Buy

  • Audience: Twitter’s audience figures were floating around 313 million active users in  Q2 2016, according to Statista. Not Facebook numbers for sure, but nothing to scoff at either.

  • Portfolio: Prospective buyers are getting more than just Twitter here. The ailing social network has a number of attractive businesses in its business portfolio, most notably Vine and Periscope, but many others as well.

  • Data: Related to the two former points, Twitter is bound to have heaps on user and engagement data across its services; data that practically any company can integrate into its existing database, or potentially spin out into another business entirely.

  • Potential: It’s difficult to isolate the root cause of Twitter’s apparent failure, but much of it likely boils down to internal failings. Given that any buyers would be in better business standing than Twitter, it’s possible we’ll see the potential of the service fully realized in more capable hands.

Why Not

  • Lack of growth: While Twitter’s audience numbers are fairly impressive, they’ve long been flat, and the company’s profits continue to dip. It’s fully possible that suitors are buying into a dying digital brand.

  • Audience: Audience quantity aside, Twitter has a bit of a quality issue with its audience and their data, or lack thereof as the case may be. The network has long supported anonymity, and doesn’t ask much of new users upon signup. This leads to a relatively easy signup process, but calls to question the quality of audience data at the company’s disposal when so many of its users are duplicate accounts, bots, or flat out trolls.

  • Community: On the topic of trolls, Twitter is know for some of the web’s most vitriolic offenders, and even functions as the primary communications tool for many of today’s unscrupulous web communities. The company has taken aggressive steps to combat this, but it’ll be slow going given the service’s signup process.

  • Form: Twitter has had years to make itself understable and relatable to the mass market. It has not stuck. Though it relaxed its stringent 140-character identity recently, it’s very likely that Twitter is destined to be a niche product, and that anyone who wishes to buy it would find it impossible to do anything to grow it beyond its current monthly active users.
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