Twitter’s CEO downplays chatter about possible acquisition

Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said on Tuesday that he saw value in the social media network remaining an independent company, downplaying recent speculation by analysts that it could be an acquisition target.

“I’ve always thought that there’s a lot of strength to our independence. We can work on every device. We can work through any medium,” Dorsey said in a response to a question at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

He also voiced commitment to building a “sustainable” business and providing “return to our shareholders.” He added that Twitter has “a lot left to prove but we’re proving it little by little every day.”

Twitter’s stock is down from its high of $69 in early 2014, but the company has had an impressive run in the past year, with shares going from $16.52 to $33.44 in the past 12 months.

Some investment analysts reignited talk of a potential Twitter deal last week when Twitter reported a surprising rise in revenue and its first quarterly profit.

The Walt Disney Co expressed interest in 2016, though at the time Twitter shares were trading at about half the current price, meaning an acquisition by anyone would be much more expensive than two years ago.

At the conference, Dorsey spoke of his long-term vision for Twitter, and even downplayed the label “social network.” He views the platform as the “zeitgeist of what the world is thinking.”

He believes that video will continue to be a big revenue driver. “Video is our fastest growing in terms of monetization,” said Dorsey. He said that Twitter will be investing in “self-serve technologies” to make it easier for producers to use the service.

Dorsey also hopes to expand on the “moments” section, which allows users to see a collection of tweets around a particular topic. “There’s a lot of value in the what happened in the recap nature of our service,” he said, adding that “we’ve barely scratched the surface of it with a product like ‘moments.’ ”

He also spoke of using machine learning and deep learning to tailor the service to individual’s preferences. “We are failing today because we don’t have a lot of the personalizations we need,” he said. “If they have to search navigation to find it, we have failed.”

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