Twitter Inc. jumped as much as 5.8 percent, the most in two weeks, after co-founder Ev Williams said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the company has to weigh all options amid ongoing speculation it’s a takeover target.
Williams initially declined to comment when asked by Bloomberg’s Emily Chang whether Twitter can remain an independent company. He went on to say, "We’re in a strong position now, and as a board member we have to consider the right options."
Board members are obliged to consider credible takeover overtures and often make similar boilerplate pronouncements when asked about dealmaking. Even so, Williams’ comments come at a time when Twitter is often mentioned publicly as an acquisition target. Shares jumped as much as 9 percent in early August amid unsubstantiated speculation that former Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud were teaming up to buy the company. While analysts played down the chatter, Axiom Capital’s Victor Anthony said that if Twitter’s business doesn’t turn around by mid-2017, a case could be made for a sale.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the co-founder who took the top job again officially in October, is trying to reshape the company’s reputation and product mix to draw a more mainstream audience. Investors have lamented Twitter’s recent user-growth slowdown, and the stock has fallen more than 17 percent this year. Revenue at Twitter is growing slower than expected, even as the company steps up efforts to court advertisers. The company is cutting deals to stream more live events, from sporting matches to political debates, and this year acquired an artificial intelligence startup to make live video look more professional.