After news broke Thursday evening that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is stepping down and company cofounder Jack Dorsey plans to take the reigns while the company searches for a permanent replacement, several analysts had the same thought: This could mean an acquisition ahead for Twitter.
“With no replacement CEO waiting in the wings, could this be a setup for a ‘strategic investor or buyer’ to step in?” Jefferies analyst Brian Pitz writes in a research note Friday morning.
Costolo said in a press conference that he has been in talks with Twitter’s board since late last year about finding a successor, and that he’s leaving before naming a permanent replacement because the company wanted the search to happen publically, but without the scrutiny it would have drawn with Costolo still in charge.
Leading up to Costolo’s resignation, there has been increasing chatter about why Twitter should sell itself, in particular to Google, and Pitz thinks that this convoluted transition plan is actually a sign that an acquisition could happen.
“Prospective buyers have been interested in purchasing Twitter in the past, and during the interim search period we believe the opportunity for acquisition is heightened (and would likely require a valuation of $US30B+),” Pitz continues. “Costolo ‘began talks with the board at the end of last year’ about stepping down, and the lack of a CEO successor signals to us the potential for acquisition.”
Other analysts chimed in with their own opinions.
“There is no indication that a sale of the company is more or less likely,” Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter’s writes. “It has always been and will continue to be a possibility. Currently, a potential acquisition is the strongest bull case for the stock.”
Analysts from Deutsche Bank thinks that an acquisition became “slightly more possible” because of the CEO situation coupled with “no super-voting share structure, a board somewhat on the defensive, lots of potential asset value, and the current environment of cheap money.”
A source familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Costolo was always opposed to a sale.
Although he will remain on Twitter’s board, having him out of the drivers seat may make an acquisition more likely.