Sources indicate Disney has retained a financial consultant to help evaluate a potential purchase, joining a growing list of potential buyers that already includes Google, Salesforce.com, Verizon, and Microsoft.
Twitter shares surged last week on the news that a takeover could be imminent, but so far, it has yet to receive anything resembling an official offer. The company is said to be looking for a price in the $30 billion range, which seems rich for a social media platform with stalled user growth.
It’s unclear exactly how DIS would leverage a Twitter purchase, but analysts are weighing in on some possibilities:
“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 certainly has the finances and the appetite to absorb Twitter. The media giant’s growing list of acquisitions includes recent purchases of Marvel, LucasFilm, and Pixar, just to name a few. Twitter would be a bit of a departure for the company, which usually buys brands with strong media and intellectual property catalogs, but is in line with its need to expand beyond TV and film:
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.
One way Twitter decidedly does not fit in with Disney’s company culture is that it is a totally uncensored platform. DIS has traditionally positioned itself as very family-friendly, but it’s doubtful they’d make large-scale changes to Twitter simply to align it more with its own image.
Disney shares fell $1.45 (-1.55%) to $91.82 in Monday afternoon trading, while Twitter shares spiked $0.33 (+1.46%) to $22.95 on the news.