It's been a rough few days for Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) investors. Shares of the social media standard have fallen for seven consecutive trading days, shedding 15% of their value in the process.
The latest dagger at Twitter struck on Tuesday afternoon when CTO Adam Messinger announced that he was leaving the company. Bolting executives are never fun, but the sting here is about more than just a hit to corporate morale or leadership concerns. Most of Twitter's gains this year have come on buyout speculation. If an acquisition was in the works an executive wouldn't leave, knowing that juicier exit strategies would be offered.
Buyout hype sent Twitter stock as high as $25.25 three months ago, but gravity has been the norm these days. Things won't always be that way. Twitter could still find itself on the receiving end of an acquisition proposal in the year ahead. Let's go over the reasons why the dream of getting hitched is still alive for Twitter in 2017.
1. Stagnancy isn't fatal when you're pervasive
Growth has slowed to a crawl at Twitter. Monthly active users clocked in at 317 million during the third quarter, just 3% ahead of the prior year's tally. That's rough, but at least we're not seeing the user base contract.
Twitter is also milking more money out of its audience. Revenue climbed 8% for the quarter. There would be value in Twitter even if its popularity were waning, but there's no shame in languishing when you're still drawing more than 300 million influential people.
2. Twitter stock is attractively priced
Twitter went public at $26 three years ago, and it's now trading in the teens. Twitter's been a broken IPO since last year, and it's all but a lock to close lower for the third consecutive year.
The stock was overpriced in its initial feeding frenzy in late 2013, something that is evident in retrospect. However, with revenue growing as the price is shrinking, we're seeing multiplex contract -- making a Twitter buyout at a reasonable premium something that may not not be brutally dilutive to a potential buyer.
3. It only takes one buyer to make this happen
The rumor mill chatter has served up some obvious and not-so-obvious names as potential suitors, and at least one publicly confirmed that it had interest but that it ultimately "wasn't the right fit" for the company.
It won't always be a bad fit. Twitter's captive hold over a lucrative audience is too rich for media, telco, and tech companies to ignore. All it takes is one company to step up and feel that Twitter is worth more in its hands. The buyout chatter isn't going to go away until it actually materializes, and it happening in 2017 makes too much sense now that nobody sees it coming.
Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.