The Walt Disney Company may be looking to expand its horizons to social media as it reportedly considers acquiring the popular micro-blogging site Twitter.
It is currently unclear whether the social media company is up for sale. However, reports of interested parties like Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and now Disney, have suggested that Twitter is considering a sale.
Twitter has not seen the success of platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram. The service has faced flat growth over the past few years. It has also faced sharp criticisms this year regarding its attempts to quell the rampant abuse that occurs on its site. Twitter has also attempted to combat the use of its site by terrorist organizations.
The platform, now a decade old, has failed to cement its core user base or define its core direction or purpose. What is more, it does not currently feature any solutions to fix its more pressing problems, including retention.
If sold, it could go one of several directions. Should Salesforce be victorious, Twitter may become a huge mine of business intelligence data to serve Salesforce’s goals.
It is likely that Google would use it to integrate it into its own social media services. It may also look for new ways to integrate Twitter into parent company Alphabet’s own trajectory.
Walt Disney may be new to social media, but is not new to the media game. The company already owns ESPN and ABC. Twitter is also on familiar terms with Disney. Jack Dorsey, the social media site’s CEO, currently sits on the board of directors at the Walt Disney Co.
An anonymous source told Bloomberg that Disney is working alongside financial advisers to contemplate a bid.
Twitter would not be Disney’s first big investment this year. In August, the firm offered $1 billion in return for a 33 percent stake in the video streaming company BAMTech.
BAMTech was developed by Major League Baseball. Its use for Disney revolves around a new product from ESPN, which Disney owns. The product includes a subscription streaming service covering several sports. The investment might revitalize ESPN’s slowing subscriber rate. The network has seen 9 million subscribers walk away since 2013.
BAMTech is not only a player in sporting success. It also partners with Twitter. The firm was involved in helping Twitter stream NFL games on Twitter’s website. It also helped broadcast the first presidential debate on Twitter on Monday evening.
Twitter and Disney already have several strong bonds. Moreover, Disney’s new direction has focused on the acquisition of big firms that come with plenty of intellectual property. In 2006, the Walt Disney Co. purchased Pixar for $7.4 billion. Three years later, it forked over $4 billion for Marvel. The firm’s most recent purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 for a cool $4.06 billion.
Those purchases came with valuable benefits. Disney now counts the Star Wars and Avengers franchises alongside Disney hits.
However, Twitter would be a different kind of asset. The platform is significantly smaller than Facebook, despite being operational around the same period. Additionally, Twitter has struggled to hit its own revenue targets.
There is also the issue of the problems that come with Twitter. Disney’s carefully maintained image would be subject to the ceaseless trolling and harassment that plagues Twitter.
Finally, there is the price. While Twitter is not profitable and it is stocks are trading low, it could still cost $16 billion. This figure is four times the price of previous, and some say more profitable, acquisitions.
All the reported offers or potential offers remain rumors. However, the reports have benefited Twitter. Twitter’s stock shot up 21 percent as rumors swirled last week.
[Featured Image By Bethany Clarke/Getty Images]