Twitter may be target for non-Musk deal

The Twitter logo is shown on an LCD screen in front of a displayed stock graph in central Bosnian town of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in this April 29, 2015 photo illustration.

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NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Elon Musk’s trash may be another person’s treasure. The Tesla boss walked away from his $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter (TWTR.N) on Friday. After the resulting fall in its shares, the social network’s $25 billion valuation is now about fair. If the price continues to fall, other buyers might be interested.

Twitter’s struggle with slowing growth makes it a decent candidate to come off the public market. But Musk was the wrong buyer, offering the wrong price. He swooped in at the start of April, just as a massive rout in technology stocks began. As interest rates continue to go higher and the economy slows, so do company growth rates, especially for technology firms. That, coupled with a higher risk associated with gleaning that growth, means the intrinsic value of Twitter has declined.

That shows in the math Twitter’s own bankers at JPMorgan did to help weigh up Musk’s bid. As part of their valuation exercise, they assumed Twitter’s cash flow would grow at a rate of 6% annually from 2028 onwards. They also turned that into a present-day sum by using a discount rate of around 10%. Now, with rates rising, both of those look optimistic. Cut the growth rate down to 4% and notch the discount rate up to 11%, the shares would be worth $32 each, roughly where they traded on Monday.

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Another way of sizing Twitter up is to take its estimated EBITDA for 2023 per Refinitiv estimates, and put it on the same multiple as Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Meta Platforms (META.O), Pinterest (PINS.N), and Snap (SNAP.N). Based on that median of around 13 times, Twitter’s enterprise value would be around $23 billion. Add its roughly $1 billion of net cash and divide by the number of shares outstanding, and the result is roughly the same – around $32 apiece.

Since Musk has walked away from buying Twitter, its shares have fallen about 10%. That makes them almost undervalued, if not quite yet. Paul Singer’s Elliott Management was formerly a big investor in Twitter, and Silver Lake’s Egon Durban sits on the company’s board of directors. Musk may be tossing Twitter to the curb, but that just makes room for a non-Musk deal.

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)


Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk is terminating his merger agreement to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, his legal advisers said in a government filing on July 8.

The lawyers from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom said Twitter is in material breach of the agreement disclosed on April 25 because the social network failed to provide data about fake accounts.

Twitter has hired law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in its planned legal battle against Elon Musk, Reuters reported on July 10.

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Editing by John Foley and Amanda Gomez

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Opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.

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