None of the main players would comment on the alleged takeover plans, which leave them very much in the realm of unsubstantiated rumor. However, Google has previously expressed interest in acquiring Twitter -- back in 2011 -- and it is one of the few organizations with a war chest big enough to fund an acquisition of this size.
Twitter is currently valued at $34 billion by market capitalization -- up by 45% from the beginning of this year, including a 4.8% boost following rumors of Google’s interest. For its part, Google has over $60 billion in cash and marketable securities lying around, and could probably arrange substantial loans without much difficulty, given its enviable market position, massive income, and strong balance sheets.
One thing Google couldn’t buy was success for Google+, its own partly defunct social offering. Last month Google+ was chopped up into its main component parts, photos and streams, and the revamped sharing platform also received a new boss, Bradley Horowitz, following the previous departure of Vic Gundotra.
Buying Twitter would thus be a shortcut to ownership of a thriving social network, with a growing ad business and plenty of possible integrations with Google’s core search products. Of course, there are some other potential contenders, including Facebook, which shelled out $19 billion for WhatsApp last year. And if Apple decided it wanted in on social media for some reason, with $180 billion lying around it could certainly afford to splurge on Twitter.