Twitter’s shares plummeted on the news that its attempts to sell itself on the open market had been less than productive.
With once-interested Google and Disney appearing to find other places to spend their money, only Salesforce looks to still be in the race, and their commitment is half-committed at very best.
Salesforce’s leadership seemed fired up to add the waning social media network to its stable of recently acquired companies like Krux, a relatively unknown marketing company in possession of over 30 petabytes of information on 3.5 billion devices, and real-time collaboration software Quip. Twitter would be a major purchase in comparison to these two approximately $700 million buys, so the nervousness that Salesforce stockholders demonstrated with the sharp drop in stock value in reaction to the potential acquisition was understandable.
A Gamble for Salesforce
Because Salesforce remains unprofitable, with a market capitalization of just under $48 billion, all these recent purchases could be a gamble too large for the company to handily absorb. However, all signs point to a unified vision behind the recent acquisitions and the interest that Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff has shown in these different types of tech companies.
Artificial Intelligence, he told a reporter in an earlier interview, is coming – and it’ll be a game changer. Benioff wants to get there before the other guys. “We’ve bought about a dozen A.I. companies, built whole new teams,” he told the New York Times in a recent interview. Earlier this year, he attempted to get a piece of LinkedIn, but Microsoft beat him to the punch. Despite his loss of the professional social network, Benioff seems certain that he can gather the same kind of data he’s seeking from Twitter. Between the hashtags and retweets, Benioff has a vision of something bigger than most others might see right now.
Even though investors may not understand his reasoning, Benioff isn’t totally convinced it’s time to give up on Twitter. He’s keeping tight-lipped about his plans about the ailing social network. “It’s a huge customer-service platform. It’s not a reason to buy it, but it’s a reason to look at it. I’m not saying I’m buying it, but I’m not saying I’m not buying it.”