Social Commerce

Twitter Takeover Looking Increasingly Likely

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Over the weekend, the social media company confirmed CEO Jack Dorsey is shaking up the leadership ranks as four top executives plan their departure from Twitter.

The Wall Street Journal reported that included in those stepping down are Head of Engineering Alex Roetter, Product Chief Kevin Weil, VP of Human Resources Skip Schipper and Media Head Katie Stanton.

People close to the matter also explained to WSJ that, in the coming week, Twitter will bring on two new board members, a move that follows suit with Dorsey’s plans to eventually replace the entire board.

Dorsey took to Twitter himself on Monday (Jan. 25) to set the record straight about why the executives chose to leave and how the now-vacant job responsibilities will be divvied up for the time being.

Since Dorsey took the reins at Twitter by stepping into the CEO role back in December, he’s continued to try to manage the things that WSJ says have paralyzed the company, such as strategy shift, frequent management changes and a continually disappointing stock price.

These factors have brought about investor concern and stunted the social media platform’s growth, as well as sparked rumors (again) that Twitter may be primed for a takeover.

As Re/code reported, with the company’s stock trading at almost an all-time low and a market value that’s nearly half of what it was last year, the comfort that came with the appointment of Dorsey as permanent CEO has worn off.

“When you have a struggling asset like this, where is the activist shareholder?” SunTrust Analyst Robert Peck told Re/code in an interview. “Is that something that pops up out of nowhere, where we find out [an activist shareholder] all of a sudden has acquired a 5 percent position and is rattling the cages a little bit more? That could be a catalyst for change.”

After a tumultuous week recently that saw Twitter’s stock price plummet drastically only to sharply rebound late in trading Wednesday (Jan. 20), many were led to believe a takeover or buyout was on the horizon for the social giant.

Rumors circulated, and were later denied, of a bid or possible stake by News Corp., WSJ’s parent company. But, as WSJ pointed out, Twitter is trading well below its Nov. 2013 initial public offering price of $26 a share, with the price having dropped 43 percent over the past three months and 67 percent since reaching its 52-week high last April.

Twitter has struggled to continue to add new users, awash in a sea of increasingly steep social competition from apps like Snapchat and Instagram vying for users’ precious attention. Despite this, as WSJ noted, Twitter’s more than 300 million monthly active users and rapid mobile-focused revenue growth could overcome these challenges to continue to make the company attractive to potential buyers.

Apart from the new vacancies the company now has to fill (the executive team at Twitter is down to five, plus Dorsey), Twitter also plans to appoint new board members, one reportedly being a “high-profile media personality,” and hire a new chief marketing officer, according to The New York Times.

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