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  • Writer's pictureRoss Levinsohn

Google or Apple likely to buy Twitter, former Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn says

Former interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn said Wednesday that Twitter needs to be a part of something bigger so that it can thrive under the wing of a technology giant.

That means either Alphabet’s Google or Apple are most likely to buy the media platform, Levinsohn told CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report.”

Twitter would solve Apple’s problem of creating a more news-oriented platform for its users, he said. For Google, it would create a Google-YouTube-Twitter media trifecta that would excite consumers, he added.

With Twitter’s market capitalization at more than $17 billion, the purchase would likely come in at around $20 billion, something that potential contenders like Salesforce, at $45 billion, cannot necessarily afford, especially when it comes to a “damaged” asset like Twitter, Levinsohn said.

Levinsohn said he doesn’t see Disney spending the $20 billion either, despite its move to bring Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey onto its board.

Levinsohn called Dorsey “a brilliant guy” but said that with both Square and Twitter on his plate, it would be exceedingly difficult to strike an effective balance.

“I think it’s virtually impossible to run two companies. And both are very, very different and both are very, very challenged. And that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with Twitter,” Levinsohn added. He said it simply takes a “different kind of environment” to help grow a media company going through the growth pains Twitter is experiencing.

That environment, according to Levinsohn, involves a focused approach to the company’s initiatives and faster innovation. He said the company has faced challenges in driving product cycles to be quicker.

“It’s OK to fail, it’s not OK to fail slowly,” he said.

And, he added, a company like Twitter — which delivers news so quickly 24 hours a day, has been used by millions as their primary source of news and has proven itself a tool for political candidates — needs to move forward with a formidable power source behind it.

“If I were Google and bought it, I would very much leave it as a stand-alone business to run, but I’d give it all the might and muscle that Google can bring to bear,” Levinsohn said.

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