Stock Could Drop 25% on Twitter Buyout

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Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) may or may not be for sale. Inc. (NYSE: CRM) may or may not be the buyer. If Salesforce does make an offer for Twitter at slightly above the current price of $23 (which surged over 20%) on the rumor, its shares could drop 25% from $70 to $52, which is close to their 52-week low.

The simplistic view of the drop is that Salesforce’s market cap is $48 billion. Twitter’s is $16 billion. Dilution. Salesforce only has $1.5 billion in cash and securities on its balance sheet, so it would have to use stock or borrow an extraordinary amount to money.

In addition to the price, Salesforce would have a very hard time justifying how Twitter would help its core businesses.

A thin explanation offered by CNBC is that because Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) bought LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) and Salesforce badly wanted it, Twitter is an excellent second prize:

“The fact that they went after LinkedIn opens a Pandora’s box to the fact that they’re interested in internet assets,” said Neil Doshi, an analyst at Mizuho Securities, who has a neutral rating and $15 price target on Twitter. “This seems one degree further from the LinkedIn business, which has a real enterprise solution.”

The “Twitter is an advantage school” is in a minority. As MarketWatch pointed out:

… buying Twitter does not appear to make much strategic sense for the cloud computing company. Salesforce already has a deal with Twitter, in which its sales-force customer base uses Twitter’s vast amounts of data for lead generation in real time.

That is by far a set of reasons for the deal not to be done. Salesforce would put its shareholders at risk for a huge drop, not only because of the market cap relationship, but simply because it is a bad deal.