When Twitter went public in 2013, its shares flew, valuing it at as much as $24bn on its first day. But since then, the company has failed to match investors’ lofty expectations. The return of co-founder Jack Dorsey as chief executive last year has done little to improve things, with growth slowing to a trickle and losses continuing.
Twitter may kick off formal sale proceedings in the coming weeks. But with a seemingly-uncontrollable online abuse problem and a price tag of up to $30bn (£23bn), the question is: why would anyone buy Twitter?
Google has long been considered the most likely home for Twitter, and is known to have looked at buying the company before. With billions in cash reserves, buying Twitter would be no problem for Google, even at an inflated price.
Despite huge successes in search and smartphones, Google has repeatedly struggled to gain traction in social networking, with a series of failed efforts to challenge Facebook. Buying Twitter would give it an instant presence where it has failed to build its own social properties.