Microblogging platform Twitter is in talks to buy news aggregator magazine Flipboard in an all stock deal which values the company at $1 billion, reports Re/Code. The publication, citing unnamed sources, added that the negotiations are headed by Twitter chief financial officer Anthony Noto and that they have been taking place since the beginning of the year.
The talks for Flipboard come at a time when rival social network Facebook has launched Instant Articles where it is tying up with publishers such as The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic and The Guardian etc to load stories faster on mobile devices on the platform itself. Note that news links tapped on Twitter’s mobile application open in the application itself, saving the valuable seconds of opening the link in a new browser window but there is no revenue share agreement for the same.
Earlier in February, Twitter had partnered with Flipboard to introduce promoted tweets outside its platform and to reach people who are not on Twitter itself. Under the partnership, a brand running a promoted tweet campaign could reach a similar audience on a Flipboard’s mobile app and use the same targeting and creative campaigns. The promoted tweet will have the same look and feel that is native to the Flipboard experience.
In April, Twitter launched a new free product called Curator that allows media publishers to search, filter and curate relevant tweets and Vine videos and publish it in real-time to their readers, across web, mobile and TV. Twitter Curator is currently in invite-only mode, and media organisations can request access here.
Launched in 2010, Flipboard has raised more than $160 million in funding, with backing from the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, and Rizvi Traverse Management. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told VentureBeat in February that the service has about 50 million monthly active users and its users curate a total of 15 million individual magazines.
Our take: Twitter is under a lot of pressure from its Wall Street investors to grow its user base and innovate. Maybe a deeper integration with Flipboard makes sense from this perspective. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also mentioned in a conference call that also mentioned that people have started using Periscope to broadcast streams of videos of the recent Baltimore riots. Maybe, Twitter is looking at news organizations to give a more immersive experience into news reporting and Flipboard’s acquisition can help with that.