Mega microblogging and messaging service Twitter, Inc. apparently wants to spread its wings into the “personalized magazine” mobile app space with a report Monday claiming the company has been attempting to acquire Flipboard, Inc.
The report from Kara Swisher at Re/Code claims multiple sources have confirmed that talks between the two companies have been taking place since the beginning of the year and are being lead by Twitter Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto.
The offer on the table is said to value Flipboard at a Unicorn level of $1 billion, although is believed to be an all-stock deal; given Twitter’s share price volatility of late, the lack of cash in the deal may be the reason why the acquisition is yet to take place.
If the deal was to occur it would reunite Twitter with Flipboard Cheif Executive Officer Mike McCue, who previously sat on the Twitter board until resigning over a perceived conflict of interest between the two companies.
Although an expensive talent buy, Swisher speculates why getting McCue back to Twitter may have additional benefits, saying that “With a reputation as a product genius in Silicon Valley, he would also be an obvious heir apparent to CEO Dick Costolo, who has been under siege from investors over the last six months.”
While there are obvious synergies between Flipboard and Twitter, and while Flipboard would help diversify Twitter’s business, it’s still a courageous buy.
Flipboard simply doesn’t appear to be going places, with user numbers flatlining after the company lost a deal to have the app installed by default on phones manufactured Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
No one disputes that Flipboard isn’t a pretty app, but the market for growth in stand-alone news readers is severely limited at a time where the likes of Snapchat, Inc. and Facebook, Inc. are adding news features to their existing apps; as much as limiting news to gatekeepers is a bad trend it is a trend none the less, and those with a stand alone news only product are always going to struggle when this trend seriously takes off.
If the $1 billion price on the table to Flipboard (be it in shares) is accurate, it would be a fairly good exit for Flipboard’s investors given the difficulties the company is facing, and that its last round valued it at $800 million.
Flipboard has raised $160.5 million to-date over 4 rounds from investors including GGV Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management, Goldman Sachs and others.
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