Apple Talked With Twitter About Investment, NYT Says

Apple Inc. talked in recent months with Twitter Inc. about making an investment in the social media site in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The Times, citing unidentified people briefed on the situation, said there are no talks “at the moment” and there is no guarantee an agreement will be reached.

Such an investment, the newspaper said, could value Twitter at more than $10 billion. Spokesmen for both companies declined to comment to the Times.

Apple’s discussions with Twitter were more than a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing a person familiar with the matter. There are no current formal investment or acquisition talks between the companies, it said.

Twitter, while still smaller than online rivals Google and Facebook, expects to generate at least $1 billion in sales in 2014, two people with knowledge of the matter have said. Researchers at EMarketer Inc. have said that in 2014 Twitter advertising sales, which account for almost all its revenue, will rise to $540 million from $139.5 million last year. The closely held company doesn’t release sales figures.

Twitter has stepped up a campaign to induce marketers to devote more of their advertising budgets to its service, which lets users post messages of no more than 140 characters to followers. Twitter, which unveiled its first advertising offering in 2010, has recently expanded mobile-advertising services.

Social Media

Apple, for its part, has been eager to integrate social media into its software with features such as Ping, which it calls “a social network for music.”

The latest version of Apple’s operating system for Mac desktops and notebooks, released earlier this week and called Mountain Lion, adds direct support for Twitter, making it easier for users to share their comments and content directly.

Apple’s profit and sales fell short of analysts’ projections for only the second time since 2003 as customers held off on iPhone purchases while waiting for a new model to be introduced later in the year.

Net income climbed 21 percent to $8.82 billion, or $9.32 a share, in the period that ended June 30, Cupertino, California-based Apple said in a statement July 24. Sales rose 23 percent to $35 billion. Analysts had predicted profit of $10.37 a share on revenue of $37.2 billion, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

While Apple outgrew its closest technology-industry peers, the company’s sales climbed at the slowest pace since mid-2009.

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