Salesforce has dropped out of conversations to buy Twitter, the Financial Times reported on Friday, leaving Slate’s Moneybox team as the only bidder with any standing. (Just kidding. Maybe after shares drop a little more.)
“In this case we’ve walked away. It wasn’t the right fit for us,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the FT. Sources at Twitter told the paper that the sales process is virtually dead. Salesforce shares are up by almost 6 percent on the news; Twitter has plummeted by more than 6 percent. The company’s stock has lost more than a third of its value since Jack Dorsey took over as CEO 12 months ago.
As Will Oremus observed recently, Twitter has a lot of problems right now: user harassment, management upheaval, flattening revenue, little user growth. Its core product has hardly changed since it launched in 2006. And yet, for all those issues, the service has come to feel like an indispensable feature of the 2016 presidential campaign (to say nothing of various breaking news events). Having access to Donald Trump’s unfiltered midnight ramblings doesn’t hurt.
The trade-offs inherent in monetizing Twitter, Oremus argued, are best handled by Twitter itself—not by a new corporate owner like Disney or Salesforce with only a scant connection to Twitter’s news and entertainment function.
But if someone with a few billion dollars would like to take advantage of Twitter’s low present value to buy it and hand it over to the team at Moneybox, we are ready to get to work.