Twitter chief quiet on being a 'takeover target'

The chief executive of the fast-growing social networking site Twitter yesterday batted away questions over whether the company was a takeover target and failed to outline how it could make enough money to justify its rumoured $10bn (£6bn) valuation.

Dick Costolo took the stage at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress to present a state of the nation for the social networking site and its potential opportunities on mobile phones.

The service is growing "at a ridiculous rate" and the company is "already making money", he said. But he failed to provide any concrete revenue projections or growth targets to the delegates. The company recorded a loss on $45m in revenues last year.

Eden Zoller, the principal analyst at Ovum, said: "Twitter quoted figures on healthy growth and use, which is good but not surprising. What it didn't provide was concrete details on how effective its nascent businesses are proving to be in driving revenues – lots of case studies of cool brands using Twitter but no hard line on the margins this brings to Twitter."

Reports emerged last week that the company had held preliminary talks with Google and Facebook over a potential deal, and the two companies had valued Twitter at between $8bn and $10bn. "I don't know where these things come from," Mr Costolo said yesterday when asked about the accuracy of the figures, adding: "It is just a number."

He clapped as another questioner asked if he was interested in selling or would "continue to tweet alone" but refused to be drawn, saying only: "I refer you to my previous answer."

Twitter currently has three sources of revenue. Promoted trends allow a company to pay to advertise in the list of top trends. It also offers promoted tweets and sponsored accounts.

Mr Costolo said there would be other models introduced later this year, but again failed to elaborate. His vision for the company he took over in October was about making it increasingly "simple". Internet companies are increasingly interested in presenting to the mobile community after the rise of smartphones. Mr Costolo said 40 per cent of tweets were now from mobiles.

The company had made mistakes in its early days, Mr Costolo said because founders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams "shot themselves in the foot, the head and everything else". He added: "We're out of the woods on that now."

The company now has 350 employees. To highlight the growth in traffic, Mr Costolo pointed to the American football Superbowl in 2008, which saw an average of 27 tweets a second during the game. In last week's Superbowl, there were 4,000 tweets per second by the end.

He added that television companies were benefiting as more people were eschewing personal video recorders to watch shows live so they can comment on Twitter with their friends while watching. He said that Twitter had become "the second screen".

The speech came shortly after Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, gave the keynote speech, in which he said Windows smartphones would break the hold exerted on the industry by Apple and Android. Microsoft linked up with Nokia last week. Mr Ballmer said: "There's a sense of tremendous opportunity. It should be a great year for our company, the industry and consumers."

* Apple is expected to release a new iPhone Nano which would be half the size of the current models and a cheaper competitor to Google Android, according to reports in New York.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Senior Account Executive / Account Executive

£25 - 30k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are looking for an Accoun...

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Resourcer / Junior Recruiter

£15-20k (DOE) + Benefits / Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright R...

Web Designer / Digital Designer

£25 - 40k (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Web Desig...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments