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Twitter, Inc. Stays Tight-Lipped on Acquisition Reports

By Motley Fool Staff – Nov 14, 2016 at 8:21PM

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Why we are disappointed on the lacking merger and acquisition commentary during Twitter's most recent earnings call.

Months ago, Twitter (TWTR) released statements about interest in merger and acquisition activity. Yet, as of its most recent conference call, nothing has materialized and CEO Jack Dorsey remains mum on the issue.

In this clip from Industry Focus: Tech, Dylan Lewis and Daniel Sparks explain what Twitter's lack of M&A action means for the company, why we're seeing so little commentary, and what long-term investors can learn from this case study.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Nov. 4, 2016.

Dylan Lewis: Some other stuff with Twitter, they talked briefly, I wish that we had gotten some more commentary on it, about the M&A stuff. In his introductory remarks, Jack Dorsey said, "Our board is committed to maximizing long-term shareholder value. I don't plan to comment any further on the topic." I know I was hoping for something. If we go back maybe a month, a month and a half, it seemed like they were banking on having a deal set by this conference call. They had kind of drawn a line in the sand of, "By the end of October, we want to come to our investors with something." Obviously, we famously saw Disney, Google, any major tech company,, decide to bow out and say formally they weren't interested. I think some Twitter shareholders are probably pretty happy about that, but it kind of speaks to management not really having full control of what's going on, and maybe not having a great read on the business sometimes.

Daniel Sparks: Yeah, I think the lack of commentary, as you said, seemed to confirm their lack of control. It was interesting watching all the offers, supposedly, come in. These were pretty major reports -- New York Times, Wall Street Journal -- so this probably really was happening. But to see Dorsey open up the call and give it such little commentary, just really leaves investors in the dark on whether they're really pressing for sale, and what's going on here. So I think shareholders are probably expecting -- I know I was definitely expecting more on that front.

Lewis: And you look at how that played out, some of the most successful open-and-shut acquisitions that have happened in 2016 have been ones that came out of nowhere, were announced, they went through the standard regulatory rigmarole, but they had their suitor, they had already agreed to terms, and then it was announced. When you see you company saying, "We're exploring this, we're interested in this, and we're kind of open to accepting anything," that's not nearly as firm. They're trying to get the market excited and stir up some more interest, perhaps. So, as you're watching from the sidelines, I think this Twitter example in particular is a great case study on when maybe you should not bank on a deal happening, because shares just flew all over the place on that speculation, and I'm sure some people were buying and selling hoping to get a nice little premium on top of where shares currently were.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks owns shares of Walt Disney. Dylan Lewis owns shares of Alphabet (A shares) and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Twitter, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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