Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff sounds like he’s serious about buying Twitter.
But Wall Street doesn’t seem to like the idea.
Salesforce’s stock is getting killed Wednesday morning, dropping over 7%, following the WSJ report that said Benioff considers Twitter an “unpolished jewel” and wants to make it a “great company.”
There’s many reasons for the market’s bearish response.
For one, it’s hard to rationalize the roughly $20 billion price tag Salesforce will have to pay to acquire Twitter. Although there’s the added benefit of owning a treasure trove of data stored in Twitter, investors aren’t sure if it’s really worth the cost.
Also, Salesforce has spent over $4 billion on acquisitions over the past 4 months, and investors are growing concerned of the pace of Salesforce’s M&A activity. On top of that, Twitter’s management is in such a messy situation that the cost to fix the company itself will put further strain on Salesforce’s growth, not to mention the fact that Salesforce has nothing to do with Twitter’s advertising business.
Mizuho analyst Abhey Lamba estimates the Twitter buyout could destroy up to $17 billion of Salesforce’s value. Lamba wrote in a note:
“We think any deal will likely destroy ~$12-17 billion (20-25%) of value, which could take 2-3 years to recapture if all goes well…we would caution investors against being aggressive until we get more clarity on the M&A situation.”
And Lamba isn’t the only analyst cautioning against Salesforce’s potential Twitter acquisition. Cowen & Co. wrote in a note:
“The majority of investors we talk to believe this will be a highly risky deal bound to significantly impair shareholder confidence, but at this point this does not seem to be deterring Mr. Benioff’s ambition of such a transformative acquisition, at least from what the press is reporting.”
But despite all the noise, some analysts believe the actual deal won’t happen. Stifel’s Tom Roderick writes:
“We still hold the belief that a CRM acquisition of Twitter is highly unlikely, both from a logistical standpoint (CRM’s capital structure would require a $15-$20bn acquisition to be heavily financed with debt and stock), and from a business model fit perspective (the current Twitter model is heavily skewed toward advertising revenue, making little sense for CRM).”