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Sources: Google will not make a Twitter bid and Apple is also an unlikely suitor

Amid speculation, the tech giants have other aims.

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

According to sources close to the situation, Google does not currently plan to make a bid for Twitter. While the search giant has been among the buyers considered most likely to be a contender for the social communications company, those familiar with the deal said that the company was not moving forward with an effort to buy it at this time.

In addition, several sources Recode has spoken to this week also said that Apple was unlikely to be one of the possible suitors, with one saying Twitter should have “low expectations” of getting an offer from the tech giant. Update: Disney, which had also considered a bid, is not going to make an offer, according to sources familiar with that company.

That should tamp down the frenzied speculation around a possible Twitter sale since Salesforce began no-commenting noisily with regard to possible interest in acquiring it a few weeks ago.

The news set in motion a series of ever more breathless reports of bankers being hired and a bidding process being started. Much of this is due to said bankers trying to gin up excitement around a sale of Twitter, creating as much interest as possible to spike up the price. After all, it can’t be just Salesforce’s Marc Benioff running around flashing wads of cash!

Still, let’s be clear: The process of selling Twitter is happening, as has been much reported. While Salesforce has indeed been the most aggressive possible buyer, Disney has also been mulling a bid (though Peter Kafka thinks it is a dumb move), along with a range of other players in telecom, media and private equity.

And why not take a gander, given the huge trove of data that Twitter sits atop globally and its unique worldwide digital distribution system? While company execs have been unable to grow the business, many think a link with a larger entity would spur Twitter’s potential.

That’s why there was much hubbub around a recent report that Google had tapped Lazard to look at a Twitter bid. (Wheee! They hired a banker! In reality, the investment bank is Google’s longtime M&A adviser on retainer and looks at every possible deal for it.)

By the way, a lack of a Twitter bid by Google or Apple probably raises the likelihood that you are never going to see one from Facebook either.

To be fair, Google buying Twitter does make some sense, and its decision not to bid is somewhat surprising, given the search giant has been viewed as the most likely acquirer for more than a year. As we wrote just last month, Google has never been successful at its attempts around social, and many believe Twitter could serve as both a distribution arm but also an improved social layer for Google-owned YouTube amid increased competition in the world of mobile video from both Facebook and Snapchat.

Still, passing on Twitter doesn't mean Google is giving up on consumer communications altogether. The company recently released two new apps — a FaceTime-like video app called Duo and an artificially intelligent messaging app called Allo — that represent its latest attempt at getting a foothold in the world of mobile messaging, where the company is already very far behind. And Google CEO Sundar Pichai has also staked out growth in the cloud business as a key focus.

Twitter, we would imagine, is a bit of a distraction and also comes with many regulatory and consumer headaches (Hello, trolls! Hello, Donald Trump!).

It is much the same for Apple, said sources, noting that the focus there remains on its flagship consumer products and not on social networks. While Twitter’s foray into mobile video distribution is compelling, sources note that Apple can benefit from that without owning or managing it. And, of course, paying upward of $20 billion for it.

No comments all around, of course.

Update: Twitter investors are sad that Google is out of the running. The stock is down more than 9 percent in after-hours trading on the news.


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