At the beginning of this year, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was rumored to be stepping down immediately (he didn't). Then, there was the rumor that Google (or Facebook or Apple) was buying Twitter (they didn't).
And, since everything seems to come in threes, the latest scuttlebutt is a new report in Barron's, citing "chatter" that Twitter is the acquisition target of two separate companies, possibly Google and Facebook, with the social network hiring Goldman Sachs to help fend off the potentially hostile attack.
But, according to not-so-chattery Re/code sources, although Goldman has been Twitter's longtime banker, it is not working on such a parry. And sources close to Google and Facebook noted that even though the pair have looked at the company in years past, there are no current discussions going on.
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That makes sense since any kind of hostile takeover in Silicon Valley is rare—Microsoft's failed attempt to buy Yahoo notwithstanding—due to issues around maintaining talent and cordial relations in the often incestuous tech landscape. Which is not to say that Google, Facebook and Apple would not be obvious acquirers of Twitter, along with more creative global ideas like, say, SoftBank or even Alibaba.
Of course, this isn't the first time the idea of a Twitter takeover has been floated and it will not be the last. But execs and those close to Twitter have taken pains to insist the company is not for sale and that it intends to remain an independent public company.
Back in January, in fact, Twitter's board members came storming out of the New Year with public praise for Costolo, who had been under fire for the company's slow growth and slumping stock price through the tail end of 2014.
Those are the two key reasons these rumors keep surfacing, and why activist investors are watching Twitter closely for any opportunity to attack. There is no question the company is indeed vulnerable and, despite a solid financial showing in Q1, Costolo seems destined to be a permanent fixture on the investor hot seat.
As one source told Re/code's Kara Swisher in January: "Dick has nine lives, but he might be on his eighth at this point."
So, it begs the question: Why is Twitter such a persistent target of investor rumor-mongering? Here are a few things to consider when discussing the possibility of a Twitter takeover: