Could Google buy Twitter? Ask Arrington, then ask Swisher
******We sprinkled updates into this blog. We’re highlighting them like this.******Thanks to TechCrunch, U.S. tech reporters are about to spend another weekend working instead of playing. UPDATE: Or maybe Kara Swisher at All Things D will save them!******Two sources told proprietor Michael Arrington that Google “is in late stage negotiations to acquire Twitter.” He wrote:***
We don’t know the price but can assume its well, well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding.
Twitter turned down an offer to be bought by Facebook just a few months ago for half a billion dollars, although that was based partially on overvalued Facebook stock. Google would be paying in cash and/or publicly valued stock, which is equivalent to cash. So whatever the final acquisition value might be, it can’t be compared apples-to-apples with the Facebook deal.
Why would Google want Twitter? We’ve been arguing for some time that Twitter’s real value is in search. It holds the keys to the best real time database and search engine on the Internet, and Google doesn’t even have a horse in the game.
******Later, he updated his entry to say that another source told him talks are at an early stage and could amount to a deal to build a Google real-time search engine. Who knows how this one will shake out. Web operations like Twitter can’t get popular without people starting to fit puzzle pieces together to see which company ought to buy them. That might be why The San Francisco Business Times picked up Wired and Industry Standard founder John Battelle’s blog entry that Twitter would go to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $750 million. Turns out it was an April Fool’s joke.******Then Swisher at All Things D said this:***
While the “news” that Google was in “late-stage” talks to acquire Twitter, which TechCrunch reported last night, certainly sounds exciting, it isn’t accurate in any way, according to a number of sources BoomTown spoke to close to the situation.
******She also covered herself with a “to-be-sure graf,” as hacks like me call them:***
Google or anyone else could plunk down more than $1 billion in cash and I cannot imagine Twitter’s investors would or could resist. Nor should they. And, what if, for example, Microsoft (MSFT) offered some huge cash payday for Twitter? In that case, I am certain Google would jump into the face-off, backing up a giant Brinks trunk to the door of Twitter’s San Francisco offices.
******Afterward, everyone scratched their heads and ruminated mightily about this very important situation. TechCrunch, meanwhile, stands by its story, a blogger there told us.******
***Keep an eye on:***
- MediaNews Group, the Denver-based newspaper publisher run by legendary hyper-acquirer “Lean Dean” Singleton, worked out a deal with creditors on paying off its heavy debt that Singleton put on the company as he bought and bought and bought newspapers (before slashing and slashing their budgets and staff). And he said bankruptcy wasn’t an issue. (The New York Times)
- Some people who work with him have told me that New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller comes off as arrogant, but he’s actually shy. This is the same shy man who at Stanford University on Thursday said CNN’s reporting has been replaced by juries of commentators who work on a set that looks like a parody of a Daily Show parody of a news set. He also said saving The New York Times ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause. From my own interactions with Keller, I would conclude that he’s a deadpan comic, not shy. (Politico)
- TMZ.com is devoting more money to reporting gossip from Washington, D.C. Why flack this now? Is it because parent company Time Warner is geeking out at the cable show in DC this week? Maybe TMZ’s Harvey Levin bunked up with Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes to save money in the downturn. OK, maybe not. (Reuters)
- In case you didn’t know already, you should not get news for free online. Rupert said so. (Please ignore this free blog entry on this free website). It shouldn’t work for online TV either, said Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav. (PaidContent)