Twitter is one of the world's best known social media platforms. It may be described as a microblogging website, whereby users could provide status updates in the space of 140 characters or less, called Tweets. Over time, Twitter has evolved by adding new features to Tweets such as videos, pictures and animated GIFs, allowing direct messages, increasing the character limit of messages, and the integration of live video application Periscope. On the corporate side of things, Twitter uses its platform for advertising space and sponsored Tweets, but the company has struggled to attract new users over the last few years. We have also seen several changes of management and younger, newer and potentially more interesting rivals steal a march into Twitter's space, such as Snapchat. It would seem that the world is waiting for Twitter to be bought by a competitor or larger company, with several suitors named that might be involved, including Disney, Google and Salesforce. However, these three bidders were thought to have lost interest.
This may now no longer be the case according to a report from Ben Harrington, Betaville, who explained that Disney now has "rekindled interest" in acquiring Twitter and that the two companies are "thrashing out a deal after agreeing on a price – thought to be in the high 20s per share – at the back end of last week." Neither Disney nor Twitter were prepared to comment, which should come as no surprise, and Betaville warn that this should be treated as a rumor or "market gossip." Nevertheless, Twitter's stock price jumped over 4% in after hours trading to over $18 a share: even if this deal is but an optimistic rumor, investors are happy that there is still interest in the business.
On the face of it, one might wonder why Disney would want to buy Twitter? Disney's lightsaber movie productions and Mickey Mouse characters seem a long way from Tweeting where you are going for dinner but this ignores one of the ways that Twitter has tried to reinvent itself: as a news source. Disney owns ABC, ABC News and ESPN and could use this expertise to reinvent and drive Twitter forwards to make it a better service for all news providers. There are risks that ABC and ESPN's competitors – news providers such as CNN, Fox News, NBC and CBS – may migrate to another platform, but all of the social media platforms have a challenging position when it comes to news, particularly in keeping impartial. A well managed news-biased Twitter business could be very compelling for all news providers.