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There is now a date certain. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported Wednesday that Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTRC) has told potential acquirers it wants to finish negotiations regarding a sale by the time it reports Q3 earnings Oct. 27.

Since Twitter only began considering a sale last month, the timeline is ambitious to say the least.


In The Running

With binding acquisition offers due in the next two weeks, Twitter pared the potential acquirers list down to 3, sources said.

Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE:CRMC) CEO Marc Benioff has been trying to convince his investors and others that Salesforce should be the buyer.

Also reported to be in the running, Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGC) Google as well as The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DISF).

The Math Isn’t On Salesforce’s Side

Twitter could cost upward of $20 billion. That’s more than a third of Salesforce’s $49 billion market value. This does not give Salesforce a whole lot of wiggle room should bidding war erupt.

Google, on the other hand, has more than $500 billion to play with and Disney has a market cap of nearly $150 billion. If either of those two were to get as serious as Salesforce already is, Salesforce could get edged out quickly.

Ultimately, there no real guarantee Twitter will sell anyway given the fact Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has not been a fan of selling in the first place.

The Battle Within

Dorsey was supposedly brought back to right the Twitter ship. By most accounts that has not happened resulting in a 3-way battle within the company for control and the right to decide Twitter’s destiny.

Dorsey reportedly wants to keep Twitter independent. Co-founder and board member, Ev Williams wants to sell. The third leg of the stool is CFO, Anthony Noto, who, it is reported, really controls the company.

It was Noto, for example, who cut the deal with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this season. Ultimately, Noto may have the deciding vote.


Next Things And Beyond

If, as reported, the process of selling Twitter is actually underway, the questions to be asked are to whom and at what price? While 3 potential bidders have been named, there is no guarantee a dark horse doesn’t lurk in the shadows.

At any rate, there are far more questions than answers. Each potential acquirer likely has different motives and different ideas about what it would do with Twitter should it acquire the company.

Salesforce could make Twitter useful to a broad range of users while mining its data. Google could integrate the platform into its gigantic ad system and assimilate it in a way that makes sense for the search giant. Disney’s interest likely would more to do with making Twitter a live video, sports and entertainment platform, potentially changing the platform more than any other acquirer.

Whoever wins will take on some extra ordinary challenges. After all, if making Twitter totally successful was easy, it would have already happened.

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