Twitter's share price takes flight on buyout rumours

Billy Bambrough
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Twitter Goes Public On The New York Stock Exchange
Twitter listed on the New York stock exchange in 2013 and – after a brief spike – has fallen far below its IPO price (Source: Getty)

Shares in micro-blogging site Twitter have jumped today on rumours former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer and Saudi investor Prince Al-Waleed Bin-Talal could make a buyout offer for the company.

Shares are up by over eight per cent in New York, climbing to $17.72 after falling as low as $15.77 in July.

Twitter shares hit an all time low of $14.01 in May after it reported user growth stalled in its first quarter.

Rumours of a takeover have followed Twitter for months, with the likes of News Corp and Google often cited as potential buyers.

Ballmer, who controls a four per cent stake in Twitter, declined to comment on the speculation it was reported by CNBC’s Scott Wapner. Last year billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin-Talal increased his stake in Twitter to over five per cent.

Read more: Four things Jack Dorsey's done to try and turnaround Twitter... so far

It's been suggested Ballmer wants to remove co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey and shake up Twitter's senior management team.

Ballmer – who bought the US basketball team the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014 – is known for his enthusiastic management style

New features, staff culls, and attempts to crackdown on the perceived problem of trolling and abuse are some of the efforts being made by Dorsey in attempts to turn things around.

Dorsey returned to the helm of Twitter last year but has been unable to revive the site's fortunes, despite Twitter's prevalence into everyday life and increasing use by officials, organisations, and celebrities to make announcements.

Twitter's confusing interface and clunky user interactions are often blamed for slow user growth but attempts to change things are heavily criticised by the site's core user base.

Dorsey has also attracted criticism for trying to run payments processor Square at the same time as Twitter.

Last month Twitter reported it had missed revenue expectations for its second quarter, and it lowered guidance the coming quarter, blaming "less overall advertiser demand than expected".

Read more: Here's how you can watch the Wimbledon final live on Twitter

Revenue at the struggling social network came in at $602m, up 20 per cent on the $502m in the same quarter last year and up just over one per cent on the $595m in the previous quarter.

The news knocked shares by 12 per cent.

Twitter Twitter | mobile image

The closely watched number monthly active users grow by three million however, ahead of the two million that had been pencilled in, taking the total number of users to 313m.

Twitter has a market capitalisation of around $12bn.

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