Disney has emerged as a surprise bidder for Twitter in a move that sees it go up alongside more traditional tech giants including Google, Salesforce, Verizon and Microsoft in bidding for the company.
Bloomberg reported on the latest twist, claiming that sources close to Disney had informed the news agency of the potential deal, following reports on CNBC last week that other tech giants were eyeing up the firm.
Disney would be an unexpected buyer, but the company owns several notable assets with which Twitter could be linked, most notably ESPN for its sports content.
Twitter recently struck a deal to show NFL content, so consolidating around the sports coverage could help Disney make money from the platform, something that Twitter has struggled to do.
A sale would not be a huge surprise as Twitter has been in the doldrums for some time and has not monetised the platform in the same way as Facebook.
User growth has slowed, which has made advertisers less keen on the platform as its reach is far below that of others.
The problems led to former founder Jack Dorsey returning to the firm last year as CEO, and he has tweaked the platform in a bid to improve engagement and user numbers, such as removing media content from the 140-character limit.
News of the potential buyout sent shares in Twitter soaring by as much as 20 per cent as investors clearly see this as the best way for the company to escape its current woes.
Those in the running would all have uses for Twitter. Verizon is already on an acquisition spree, most notably spending $5bn on several Yahoo assets, while Microsoft also sees access to social data as key to the future. Microsoft spent $26bn on LinkedIn in pursuit of this goal earlier this year.
However, Salesforce's involvement was somewhat complicated when the firm's chief digital evangelist, Vala Afshar, went as far as posting on Twitter why he thinks it is such a great platform.
Why @twitter?— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) September 23, 2016
1 personal learning network
2 the best realtime, context rich news
3 democratize intelligence
4 great place to promote others
Whether he would do this during discussions about buying the company seems unlikely, and he later issued a further messaging explaining why he had posted the original message.
I have tweeted my personal views regarding 'Why Twitter?' numerous times over the past couple of years. I simply love Twitter.— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) September 23, 2016
No doubt all this talk of Twitter and the heavyweight tech firms involved in a potential bidding war will be music to the ears of investors, who will hope for a sizeable pay day if a deal is struck.
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