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Report: Disney seriously considering Twitter takeover bid

Disney CEO Bob Iger
The Twitter takeover chatter rages on. The latest news is that Walt Disney Co. is working with a financial adviser to evaluate a possible bid for the struggling social media platform.

So what exactly does Disney, the biggest film studio in Hollywood, want with Twitter? The house of mouse has increased its tech footprint under the leadership of current CEO Bob Iger with a flurry of investments in digital streaming (Hulu), online media (Vice), and video hosting (Major League Baseball’s live-streaming platform BAMTech). Twitter partnered with the latter on its baseball live-streams, but that’s not where the Disney connection ends.

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Iger previously tapped current Twitter CEO Dorsey to sit on Disney’s board, alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The Disney chief is harnessing the tools and talent to pave the way for his company’s digital expansion, and Twitter (which now boasts a promising live-streaming strategy) could unlock a massive audience for Disney’s subsidiaries. Two of the firm’s biggest properties (ABC and ESPN) could easily fit into Twitter’s live-streaming model, which is geared toward the platform’s news and sports-hungry users.

However, considering Twitter is eager to strike up more live-streaming partnerships, Disney could also simply provide content to the platform without forking out a possible $30 billion.

If Disney does manage to beat the competition, one of its biggest challenges will be to boost Twitter’s ad revenue. Social media advertising is thought to be a big draw for the corporation, which views Twitter as a direct source of communication with its customers, Bloomberg reports. On the other hand, Disney could avoid the risk that comes with a costly takeover, and just up its Twitter presence, or fork out on more Twitter advertising.

As his investments have illustrated, Iger isn’t afraid of a challenge. Under his leadership, Disney has also been extremely cautious not to alienate existing fans of the properties it has acquired (the Disney logo does not appear on film franchises owned by the company, such as Lucasfilm or Marvel productions). This could bode well for both Disney and Twitter’s respective brands, and users. After all, a platform with an abuse problem doesn’t exactly fit in with Disney’s family-friendly image. On the other hand, an overbearing approach could result in a backlash from Twitter’s hardcore fan base.

Despite the fact that Google and Salesforce are reported to be in the final stages of calculating their respective bids, formal announcements aren’t expected till later this year. Meaning, more speculation regarding interested parties (we’re looking at you News Corp., Apple, and Comcast) will dominate headlines until then.

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