Twitter held $1B talks to acquire Flipboard; Google and Yahoo also show interest

Twitter held $1B talks to acquire Flipboard; Google and Yahoo also show interest

26 MAY 2015

Twitter is one of several internet giants that have held talks over potentially acquiring social media aggregation app Flipboard, with subsequent reports stating that Google and Yahoo also met with the company’s advisers.

Technology publication Re/Code broke news this week that Twitter had been in advanced talks to acquire Flipboard since the start of the year, with a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion, but negotiations have now stalled.

This was followed by reports in the Wall Street Journal, which stated that Google and Yahoo have also held discussions with Flipboard over how the application could be integrated within their portfolios, but talks have yet to progress to include a price.

The talks with Twitter appear to be more advanced, and were led the company’s CFO Anthony Noto, but they have not developed since April.

The two companies are already partners on a number of levels, and Flipboard was co-founded by Mike McCue, a former Twitter board member renowned in Silicon Valley as a product specialist.

Twitter continues to face pressure from its investors in Wall Street to grow its 302 million user base and find new ways to generate revenue.

Noto recently said at a conference that the company is looking at ways to increase its marketing as almost everybody knows what Twitter is, “but barely anybody knows how to use it or why they would want to”.

The presence of McCue and his product team could be an invaluable asset to Twitter, which has seemingly identified a way to sell advertisements on the Flipboard platform.

Re/code speculates that McCue could also be “an obvious heir to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who has been under siege from investors over the last six months”, according to the publication.

Flipboard aggregates and links related content shared by users on social media in a magazine style format. The application once came pre-installed on Samsung devices before an exclusivity agreement recently came to an end.

The interest in Flipboard highlights a trend amongst internet players to make it easier for consumers to view content in one place. Both Google and Yahoo have previously launched their own newsreader apps, but failed to gain traction.

Rivals Facebook and Snapchat have also recently struck partnerships with publishers to add more content to their applications.

Flipboard has attracted more than $160 million in funding overall, driving its valuation to $800 million and boasted last year to have 100 million “activated” users.

However, it appears that its user base has tailed off in recent months, largely because of the end of its deal with Samsung, in addition to growing question marks over the application’s limited appeal.

If the Twitter deal was to go through, Flipboard would not necessarily grow its user base immediately as many of its users will already be on Twitter, but it could attract new users that use Twitter as a platform to read content shared by others.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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