RUMOR: Apple to buy Twitter for $700 million

“Facebook tried to buy Twitter. Google and Microsoft have been giving the red-hot Internet-messaging startup the eye. But we hear it’s Apple that’s closest to sealing a deal, possibly for as much as $700 million,” Owen Thomas reports for Valleywag.

“A source who’s plugged into the Valley’s deal scene and has been recruited by Apple for a senior position says Apple and Twitter are in serious negotiations, with the goal of unveiling a deal by June 8, when Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference launches in San Jose,” Thomas reports.

“Twitter turned down a $500 million offer in cash and stock from Facebook, in part because Twitter’s investors couldn’t agree on whether Facebook’s stock was worth as much as Facebook said it was. But Apple could easily pay cash. A source familiar with the thinking of Twitter’s board says the company would be hard-pressed to refuse an all-cash offer in the range of $700 million,” Thomas reports.

“Is it coincidence that Apple has put Twitter executives on stage so frequently, or that it profiled Twitter as a ‘business’ recently?” Thomas wonders. “If Apple buys Twitter, it won’t be about making money. It will be about making a statement. In 140 characters or less.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One rule: nobody at Apple would be allowed to tweet.

According to comScore Media Metrix, in March 2009, traffic more than doubled to rank as fastest-growing property, growing 131% to 9.3 million visitors. Fueled in part by celebrity ‘tweeters’ [Ashton Kutcher] and substantial mainstream media attention, the site ranked as the top-gaining property for the month.

For some perspective, Apple Inc. was 12th on comScore’s list of Top 50 Web Properties in March 2009 with 53.089 million visitors. Google was #1 with 151.241 million visitors.

On April 14, Andrew Lipsman reported, “The mainstream media attention on Twitter [may] really helping fuel its growth… It seems you can’t get through a typical newscast anymore without some mention of Twitter.”

Lipsman reported, “If you watched the news this past week, you might’ve heard that Newt Gingrich levied criticism of President Obama’s response to the Somali Pirate stand-off over Twitter. I mean, we’re talking about the highest levels of government here, and a microblogging site is being used as a top politician’s primary media outlet?”

“When I looked at the percentage of visitors to who also visited the websites of some of the top online news brands and compared it to that of the total U.S. Internet audience, I found a particularly strong level of overlap,” Lipsman reported. “The average Twitter user was often 2 and 3 times as likely to visit the top online news brands as the average person.”

Lipsman reported, “there’s a strong relationship between Twitter users and news consumption. But the chicken-and-egg question continues to gnaw at me: Is it that the real-time ‘newsiness’ of Twitter inherently attracts news junkies, or is it that the mainstream news attention on the site is pushing more and more news consumers to get on Twitter for the first time?”

“I tend to think it’s probably a little from Column A and a little from Column B,” Lipsman wrote. “There’s some sort of virtuous cycle occurring between ‘breaking news’ and ‘making news’ that is feeding on itself, and it is only under such conditions that we can realistically see the sort of growth that we’ve seen at Twitter over the past few months. At least that’s the best explanation I can come up with for now.”

Full article here.

Don’t forget:

Apple’s pile of cash growing rapidly – May 05, 2008
Apple buys microprocessor design company PA Semi for $278 million in cash – April 23, 2008
Some investors, analysts question Apple’s rapidly growing cash pile; currently $18.4 billion – February 25, 2008
What should Apple do with its $15 billion (and rapidly growing) cash hoard? – December 07, 2007
How will Apple spend its over $15 billion in cash? – November 01, 2007
What should Apple do with its $12 billion pile of cash? – March 01, 2007
Investors take note: flush with cash, Apple poised to break out of niche – September 17, 2003