Fri, Feb 11, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Facebook, Google and others size up takeover of Twitter

Reuters, NEW YORK

Google Inc and Facebook Inc, plus others, have held low level takeover talks with Twitter that give the Internet sensation a value as high as US$10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In December, Twitter raised US$200 million in financing in a deal that valued it at US$3.7 billion. The company, which allows users to broadcast 140-character messages to groups of followers, had 175 million users as of September.

The Journal reported on its Web site that executives at Twitter have held “low level” talks with executives from Facebook and Google in recent months about a possible takeover of Twitter.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said other companies have also held similar talks.

“But what’s remarkable is the money that people familiar with the matter say frames the discussions with at least some potential suitors; an estimated valuation in the neighborhood of US$8 billion to US$10 billion,” the report said.

Despite the valuation, the report said Twitter’s executives and board were working on building a large, independent company.

“People familiar with the situation said the company believes it can grow into a US$100 billion company,” the report said.

Twitter, created in 2006, is among a crop of popular Internet social networking services that includes Facebook, Zynga and LinkedIn.

A growing secondary market has developed in shares of the privately held Web sensations and investors are monitoring the companies closely in the hope they might float shares.

It was only in the middle of last year that Twitter offered marketers a way to advertise on the service.

Industry research firm eMarketer said last month that Twitter, which does not disclose financial information, generated an estimated US$45 million from advertising last year and is expected to generate some US$150 million this year.

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