SunTrust's Peck Looks at 'Who's Left' to Bid for Twitter (TWTR)

October 6, 2016 12:14 PM EDT
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Price: $17.11 +0.88%

Rating Summary:
    7 Buy, 36 Hold, 11 Sell

Rating Trend: = Flat

Today's Overall Ratings:
    Up: 13 | Down: 22 | New: 54
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Shares of Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) are getting slammed Thursday (-19.3%) amid reports overnight from Re/Code that the market's ideal suitor, Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), is not bidding. In addition, the report said Disney (NYSE: DIS) won't bid and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has no interest.

So who's left?

SunTrust's analyst Bob Peck attempts to answer.

Amid the news reports, Peck pared down his original suitor list to IBM (NYSE: IBM), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), AT&T (NYSE: T), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) or an international company.

While there may still be bidders, Pecks questions the value of a takeover. Applying the LinkedIn initial offer premium of 17x EBITDA, they think a take-out price could reach $20. If a potential sale becomes a competitive process (like LinkedIn’s process became), then the higher multiple of 21x could drive targets closer to $24. However, they underscore that it’s possible that no bids materialize (i.e. a “busted process”) or that bids are lower than the current stock price. Under this scenario, this could bring the stock back to its 52 week lows (~$14-15), right before when the LinkedIn acquisition that sparked general M&A anticipation.

"Hence the risk reward is still not favorable for Twitter," Peck said.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey reiterated a Neutral rating and price target of $18 on TWTR.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on Twitter, Inc. click here. For more ratings news on Twitter, Inc. click here.

Shares of Twitter, Inc. closed at $24.87 yesterday.

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