British Founder of Tweetdeck to sell to Twitter for $50m?
Twitter is reportedly in advanced talks over buyout of Tweetdeck for $50m.
According to his Twitter profile, Iain Dodsworth is a Formula One obsessive, husband and father. He may also be about to become a multimillionaire. The British founder of TweetDeck, a popular computer application used by regular Twitter users, is reportedly in advanced talks to sell his firm to Twitter for $50m (£31m). Dodsworth, unlike twitterers, is keeping tight-lipped so far.
The Twitter rumour, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, follows stories that Dodsworth was being courted by Bill Gross, an internet entrepreneur. Gross's UberMedia reportedly offered $30m for the firm.
Among other services, TweetDeck's software allows people to manage their Twitter accounts by sorting them into favourite subject categories, or to bring in information from other social media sites such as Facebook or MySpace.
The company, which has 15 employees, most in the UK, has a close relationship with Twitter. Five-year-old Twitter now has over 200m users sending messages of 140 characters or less. The company has only recently started to tap advertisers for revenue and is on track to earn $150m in this year, according to estimates from eMarketer, a research firm. Twitter sells "promoted tweets" that appear when users perform searches on Twitter and has allowed those ads to appear on TweetDeck as part of a revenue-sharing agreement.
Twitter founder Biz Stone has said the company is concentrating its efforts on growing revenues and making strategic acquisitions. The firm has bought a number of tech firms over the last few years in order to round out its technology.
The company itself has also been the subject of takeover rumours with both Google and Facebook said to be eyeing the firm. The move on TweetDeck comes amid an increasingly frenzied appetite among investors to get in on the new generation of internet firms.
In February, Facebook staff were told they could privately sell shares at a price that valued the firm at $60bn. Groupon, an online discount service for local businesses, is aiming to float on the US stock market later this year at a price of $25bn. Far smaller firms too have been attracting big sums. Color, a loss-making photo sharing app, recently raised $41m from venture capital investors. Quora, a question and answers website set up by two former Facebook employees, has been valued at $86m.
Source: www.guardian.co.uk 18 April 2011