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Tracking the bird: Apple eyeing stake in Twitter?

Apple, which has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media, has talked with Twitter in recent months about making a strategic investment in it, according to people briefed on the matter.

business Updated: Jul 29, 2012 21:52 IST

Apple, which has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media, has talked with Twitter in recent months about making a strategic investment in it, according to people briefed on the matter.

Apple has considered an investment in hundreds of millions of dollars, one that could value Twitter at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, they said.

While Apple has been hugely successful in selling phones and tablets, it has little traction in social media, which has become a major activity on the net and mobile devices. Social media are increasingly influencing people.

“Apple doesn’t have to own a social network,” Timothy Cook, Apple’s CEO, said at a recent technology conference. “But does Apple need to be social? Yes.”

Twitter and Apple have already been working together. Recently, Apple has tightly sewn Twitter features into its software for phones, tablets and computers. Though an investment in Twitter would not be a big financial move for Apple by any stretch — it has $117 billion in liquid investments, and quietly agreed to buy a mobile security firm for $356 million on Friday — it would be one of Cook’s most important strategic decisions as chief executive. And it would be an uncommon arrangement for Apple, which tends to buy small start-ups that are then absorbed into the company.

But Twitter does not need Apple’s cash. Earlier this year, Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, said the company had “truckloads of money in the bank.”

These add up to more than $600 million in cash on hand— $1 billion in financing raised over the years and, more recently, from advertising revenue. Regardless, Twitter is expected to pursue a public offering within a couple of years.