Salesforce Could be the First Bidder for Twitter This Week

twitter-app-logoSocial media giant Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), the subject of much M&A speculation for the past several months, could finally receive official initial takeover bids as early as this week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ notes that Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) CEO Marc Benioff is doing everything he can to convince investors and board members to let him pull the trigger:

Mr. Benioff, whose recent approach to Twitter set off the bidding process, sees the social-media pioneer as an “unpolished jewel” with untapped potential in advertising, e-commerce and other data-rich applications he regards as important to the cloud-software juggernaut’s next phase of growth, [sources] said.

Benioff believes that his company is an ideal suitor, and sees huge growth potential if the execution is right:

According to a person familiar with his thinking, Mr. Benioff is convinced a strong partner could figure out how to better monetize Twitter’s big user base and fire hose of content, something the social-media company has struggled with.

Benioff lost out to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) earlier this year in a bid to buy business social networking giant LinkedIn, and he’ll have plenty of competition in a potential Twitter acquisition as well. Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently hired a consultant to help it evaluate a takeover, and entertainment giant Disney (NYSE:DIS) reportedly is also interested.

Also linked to a Twitter buyout are Microsoft and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), although the former will be busy digesting LinkedIn and the latter has its own issues with its impending Yahoo takeover.

After years of weak performance, Twitter shares surged 20% in a single day last month when a CNBC report claimed that takeover talks were gaining steam.

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Twitter shares rose $0.92 (+3.91%) to $24.44 in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, TWTR has gained 1.64%, including a more than 58% rebound since late May fueled by takeover speculation.