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Twitter CEO Costolo Will Be "Opportunistic" on Acquisitions

Costolo has $3.6 billion in cash on hand, but says he won't race off to spend it.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

User growth issues continue to linger for Twitter despite beating Wall Street estimates Monday afternoon, and Twitter is working to find other ways to grow. As we’ve said before, an acquisition to help move things along may not be a bad idea.

Twitter’s monthly active users grew 23 percent over the same period last year to 284 million in Q3, but analysts latched onto timeline views, a metric better used to represent engagement, that is growing much slower than it was a year ago. Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told analysts to expect more of the same in Q4, and the stock is down more than 10 percent in after-hours trading as a result.

Buying something could help spur growth, and with $3.6 billion in cash on hand thanks to a recent debt acquisition, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has ample opportunities. He’s being patient and will look for “opportunistic” acquisitions that may arise, he told Re/code in an interview following the earnings release. Costolo pointed to Vine, the six-second video platform, as an example of the types of acquisitions Twitter will be looking for down the road.

“That wasn’t something we were planning to go build or thinking about,” he said of the Vine acquisition from late 2012. “We saw what [the Vine founders] were doing, Jack [Dorsey, Twitter co-founder] and I loved it, and we were able to move quickly. That’s what raising the additional cash was all about.”

So Twitter now has the cash and stock handy to compete in almost any acquisition conversation it chooses, but that cash doesn’t appear to be burning any holes in company pockets.

While Twitter may be feeling outside pressure to make another content or user-growth-focused acquisition, Costolo says the company isn’t limited to those categories. He wouldn’t name specific industries of interest, but pointed to Twitter’s Crashlytics acquisition, which was on display at the company’s mobile developer conference last week, as another example of what Twitter may one day add.

As Twitter expands its business to include revenue streams and services outside of the traditional social network, it adds intrigue as to what Twitter may ultimately buy. In the meantime, Costolo has no problems waiting for the right opportunity.

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