before Elon Musk, Google, Disney and Salesforce had also given up

Will Twitter finally succeed in being bought out? This is the whole point of the trial to be held in mid-October between the social network with the bird and the multi-billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who had agreed to buy the company for 44 billion dollars in April. last, then who changed his mind. The official reason: bots and fake accounts, which he says represent at least 20% of users, while Twitter has been claiming for years that there are only less than 5%. Determined not to take out the checkbook, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX also relies on recent revelations from a whistleblower, who accused the company of lying to regulators about the security of the social network.

If Elon Musk is the first to give up the takeover after having formally committed to it, other tech giants have almost taken over the social network before changing their minds. And for good reason, Twitter has all the trappings of an excellent target: it is a global social media, with a community of around 300 million users – of which 237 million are monetizable according to the company -, who enjoys massive power of influence and enormous notoriety. But Twitter is unable to take off from its 300 million users and is struggling to find a sustainable economic model, which is whetting the appetite of other tech giants, who believe they can unleash its potential.

Thus, in 2016, a year after the – rather failed – return of the founder Jack Dorsey at the head of the company, three of them had found themselves in competition to buy Twitter: Alphabet (parent company of Google), Disney and CRM giant Salesforce. Everyone finally gave up.

Too expensive for Salesforce

Very aggressive on the mergers/acquisitions front, Marc Benioff, the fiery boss of Salesforce, was clearly the most enthusiastic about the idea of ​​buying Twitter, which he described in the press as “ rough diamond “. The customer relationship management software giant was especially eyeing the personal data held by Twitter. Its goal: to know consumers as well as possible in order to adapt its CRM offers and the software it sells to companies. Salesforce also thought it could make Twitter a profitable business by bringing its expertise in BtoB, a growth segment then underdeveloped at Twitter.

Shortly after missing LinkedIn, acquired by Microsoft, Twitter therefore seemed a perfect target for Salesforce. But the social network, then valued between 18 and 20 billion dollars and also courted by Google and Disney, wanted to sell between 25 and 30 billion dollars. Too expensive for the shareholders of Salesforce, who badly received the project of Marc Benioff, of which they criticized the frenzy of acquisitions with 12 companies acquired in the last 12 months, for a total of 4 billion dollars, and insufficient cash to afford such an expensive undertaking.

‘Hate’ and ‘problems’ scared Disney boss

The other option for Twitter then was Disney. Bob Iger, the CEO at the time, already had Disney’s turn to streaming in mind, but the group lacked culture and tech skills. For him, Twitter is then the ideal distribution platform.

“Twitter was a social network but we saw it as something completely different: a global distribution platform for our content, because we wanted to get into the streaming business but we weren’t a tech company. We wanted to use Twitter to deliver news, sports, entertainment to the world. It would have been a phenomenal solution in terms of distribution, “said the former leader in early September 2022 at the Code Conference in the United States.

After having convinced the board of directors of Disney then that of Twitter, the case was almost in the bag. But a few days before signing, Bob Iger doubts. ” As a manager of a major global brand, I was not ready to take on such distraction, deal with so many issues that come with buying a social network, including moderation and toxicity “, explains the former leader, who then sees a contradiction between the Disney business -” produce fun, do good », and all the hate speech and the toxic use that can be made of a social network.

The leader also remembers looking closely at fake accounts. ” We looked very carefully at all Twitter users and then determined with the help of Twitter that a substantial portion – not the majority – were not real. “, he reveals, while specifying that this did not impact his desire to buy.

Google just wanted technical tools from Twitter, not from the rest

Finally, the last serious contender was Alphabet, the parent company of Google. World champion in online advertising, Google could have used Twitter to strengthen its positions in native and mobile advertising, and take bigger budgets from its customers by integrating Twitter into their campaigns, which would have in turn improved the monetization of Twitter , which also essentially lives on advertisements.

The market was very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​the deal, but Google did not want it in the end, causing Twitter’s stock market value to drop by almost 10% the day the refusal was communicated. Google actually felt that buying all of Twitter wasn’t worth the cost: instead, it bought a “package” that included most of its developer tools, including sa Fabric mobile app development platform, Crashlytics incident reporting platform, Answers mobile app analytics tool, Digits SMS login system, and Fastlane development automation system. The objective for Alphabet: to strengthen Google in the strategic business of the cloud, where it was – and still is – only third behind Amazon and Microsoft.