Commentary

Twitter Planning Layoffs

Close on the heels of a failed auction, in which all the principal bidders eventually walked away, Twitter is preparing to cut costs with a new round of layoffs, according to Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The struggling social network could lay off as many as 300 people, equaling around 8% of its total headcount of around 3,860, Bloomberg reports. That’s about the same number that were let go in an earlier round of layoffs last year, after the return of co-founder Jack Dorsey. Although the timing and number of cuts remains undecided, a final decision could come before Thursday, when Twitter is due to announce its quarterly results.

Bloomberg points out that the layoffs may be partly intended to make it easier for Twitter to pay its remaining employees, especially engineers, with its own stock, which has tumbled in value following the news earlier this month that its potential buyers had backed off from an acquisition.

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As noted previously, Twitter was briefly at the center of an abortive auction that failed to develop into the usual bidding war.  

Enterprise software firm Salesforce had kicked things off with its somewhat surprising expression of interest, triggering a round of exploratory offers from other big tech companies, with rumored rival bids from the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Verizon.

However, these companies quickly withdrew from consideration for reasons that still aren’t clear. It later emerged that the original expression of interest from Salesforce was a spontaneous initiative from CEO Marc Benioff; a slide of potential acquisition targets circulated among the company’s board of directors earlier in the year didn’t even mention Twitter.

The failed auction sent Twitter’s stock price plunging again, from $24.87 on October 5 to $18.03 at the time of writing.

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