Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Who Might Be Twitter's New Investors? The Usual Suspects, Of Course!

Last week, MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka reported on a new funding effort by Twitter.

Sources said the San Francisco microblogging phenom, which has seen huge growth of late, is considering a round of upward of $200 million.

That would more than double the $160 million Twitter has garnered so far.

And who are the moneybags who might be the ones to keep Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in diamonds and furs–and away, for now, from the enticing clutches of a socially awkward and, thus, acquisition-minded Google?

Actually, those at the top of the list will be familiar to those following big funding rounds in the social space: Russia’s DST Global, Silicon Valley venture powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz–which is raising its own giant new fund–and a spate of more recently interested private equity players.

DST seems the likeliest investor, given it likes to play big in the space and has handed over gobs of money to social networking giant Facebook, social gaming upstart Zynga and social deals start-up Groupon.

DST Global is also pretty hands-off as an investor, such as not demanding board seats for its dough.

Alexander Tamas of DST Global, which is an affiliated international investment unit of Digital Sky Technologies (which recently filed to go public itself), said in an email to BoomTown that he “can’t comment on any deal rumors.”

But here’s an excerpt from an interview he did with me in July:

“As to its future investments, Tamas said the company will likely fund start-ups that ‘check the boxes,’ including exponential growth and social virality.”

That would be…drum roll, please…Twitter.

A Twitter spokesman told Kafka last week that the company did not need the cashola (there is apparently plenty of the old stuff left in the kitty) and no decisions had been made about additional financings.

Nonetheless, many sources close to the situation said Twitter was deep into the consideration of potential investors.

Of course it is, as it needs to expands its staff and infrastructure and more aggressively seek ways to monetize its growing audience via advertising.

In Twitter’s last funding of $100 million, it did so at a billion-dollar valuation.

It’s not clear what a new valuation would be, but if completed it would obviously be a lot more.

And, if Twitter takes this path, it could stave off the persistent speculation that Google would make an offer Twitter could not refuse, in an attempt by the search giant to jumpstart its own lackluster social efforts and assuage its deep insecurities about Facebook.

In addition, more money would also give Twitter breathing room to figure out its business model, before pressure starts to perhaps also reward investors and employees via a public offering.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald