Twitter announced the departures of four more key executives on Sunday while a fifth also announced he was leaving, and analysts were quick to weigh in. Goldman Sachs analysts cut their price target on the company’s stock, while Stifel analysts downgraded it on Monday, shifting to Hold.
More execution risks at Twitter
If there’s anything Twitter doesn’t need more of, it’s execution risk, but Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry and team said the ongoing turnover problem the company has at the executive level increases execution risks. The executives who are leaving are: Vine head Jason Toff, Product SVP Kevin Weil, Engineering SVP Alex Roetter, HR head Brian Schipper, and Global Media VP Katie Stanton. The last four names in the list are leaving as part of a restructuring plan.
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Terry said he still sees Twitter’s platform as being worth much more than the $12 billion market value currently assigned to it because of its scale and the profile of its users. However, he also said the continuing instability in management will probably delay even more the product and technology developments that are needed in order to push user growth, engagement and monetization.
As a result, he cut his price target from $40 to $28 per share, although he continues to rate Twitter at Buy.
Will Twitter become an acquisition target?
Terry wasn’t the only analyst to suggest that Twitter might be prepping itself for a sale. It should be noted though that we’ve heard this same tune for quite some time with numerous big names being listed as possible suitors. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali and team suggest that the micro-blogging platform could have some strategic value as it has more than 300 million monthly active users and “a unique global offering of one-to-all broadcasting platform.
They see both tech and media companies as being potential acquirers, including Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft, Twenty-First Century Fox, Walt Disney, Comcast and Time Warner. They have a Buy rating and $45 price target on Twitter stock.
Not all analysts are worried
Jefferies analyst Brian Pitz and team agree that the departures are probably not positive, although they think those exits could put Twitter in a better position to execute on CEO Jack Dorsey’s strategies or even for a possible sale at the company. They add that right now it’s still too early to predict what Dorsey might have in mind, although they note that when Dorsey was named permanent CEO, sweeping changes were expected.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Blake Harper thinks that the shakeup could prove to be a positive for Twitter in the long run, although it might prolong the turnaround process, noting that the mass exodus demonstrates continued instability. He also thinks that Twitter’s full potential is not yet being tapped as it has unique content that must be developed more and repackaged for bigger audiences. He has a Buy rating and $35 price target on the stock.
Twitter shares edged higher by 0.94% to $17.18 per share in intraday trading on Tuesday.