Apple is reportedly considering buying a stake in Twitter worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The technology giant, which has stumbled on the social media front, has been in talks with Twitter in recent months about the strategic investment, according to The New York Times.
Apple’s hefty injection of funds would value the social networking powerhouse at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, the newspaper’s sources said.
Apple has had huge success selling its iPhones and iPads but has had little traction in the fast-growing social media world.
As social media, accessed on computers and mobile devices, increasingly influences how people spend their time and money, Apple, which also sells applications, games, music and movies, is keen to get in on the action.
The New York Times said it’s not a done deal and the companies are not in negotiations at the moment. But are likely to form a strong partnership against intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.
Facebook is aligned with Microsoft, which owns a small stake in it, and Google, which rivals Apple in the smart phone market, is pushing its own social network, Google Plus.
“Apple doesn’t have to own a social network,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference.
“But does Apple need to be social? Yes.”
Twitter and Apple have already been working together, with the technology leader embedding Twitter features into its software for phones, tablets and computers.
Meanwhile, Twitter has been working to bolster its relationship with Apple, according to The Times.
An investment in Twitter would not be a big financial move for Apple, which has $117 billion in liquid investments, but it would be one of Tim Cook’s most important strategic decisions since taking the helm after Steve Jobs’ stepped down due to illness.
For Twitter, having the backing of a tech icon like Apple would see its valuation shoot up overnight.
Like that of other start-ups, the company’s valuation has languished in the wake of Facebook’s lackluster market debut.
But Twitter does not need Apple’s cash injection. Earlier this year, chief executive Dick Costolo, said the company had “truckloads of money in the bank”.
The Times’ sources reckon this “truckloads” adds up to more than $600 million in cash on hand thanks to a healthy flow of advertising revenue.
Both Apple and Twitter refused to comment in the article, but Dick Costolo said of Apple in a recent interview: “Those guys are a great partner. We think of them as a company that our company looks up to.”