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A portion of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California May 7, 2012. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)
A portion of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California May 7, 2012. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)

Disney shares fall amid reports of Twitter bid Add to ...

The Walt Disney Co. is working with a financial adviser to evaluate a possible bid for Twitter Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

After receiving interest in discussing a deal, Twitter has started a process to evaluate a potential sale. Salesforce.com Inc. is also considering a bid, working with Bank of America on the process, according to other people, who declined to be named because the matter is private.

Representatives for Twitter and Disney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Speculation that Twitter will be sold has been gathering steam in recent months, including last week’s news of Salesforce’s interest, given the social media company’s slumping stock price and difficulties in attracting new users and advertising revenue. Disney, if it decides to make a bid, would be able to help the company further its video-streaming media strategy. Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter, is also on the board of Disney.

Twitter shares reversed previous declines on the news of interest from Disney, rising as much as 2 per cent. The shares were trading at $22.83 at 2:02 p.m. in New York. The stock soared 21 per cent Friday following reports of the talks with Salesforce. Disney shares fell, dropping as much as 2 per cent to $91.40.

“It’s a video distribution play,” said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. “What Disney has to think about is what is its place in a post cord-cutting world. They are investing in technology for distribution -- and this would give them the platform to reach audiences around the world.”

Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has developed a reputation as a strategic thinker with an appetite for bold bets such as the $7.4-billion acquisition of animation studio Pixar just months after he became CEO.

With Disney’s largest business -- cable TV -- facing shrinking viewers and more competition from online video services, Iger has invested in technology-related media businesses, including Hulu, the video streaming service, digital media company Vice and BAMTech, which provides the platform for online video services such as HBO Now.

Mr. Iger has sought to increase Disney’s new media expertise, adding Dorsey and Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to the company’s board in recent years.

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