Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), the microblogging company, has quietly acquired Periscope, a start-up that is developing a mobile application for streaming live video from smartphones, according to recent reports in the media. Business Insider broke the story yesterday, citing an unnamed source, according to whom the deal had been closed for weeks. The online publication cited multiple sources, who gave varying suggestions for the size of the purchase, which seemed to indicate that the deal was worth more than $50 million, but less than $100 million.
In a separate report, The Wall Street Journal said that Twitter paid slightly less than $100 million. The paper attributed the information to its own sources familiar with the matter.
The Periscope app has yet to be released to the wider public, having entered private beta testing about four months ago. According to the WSJ sources, the beta tests have been joined by senior Twitter executives, including chief executive officer Dick Costolo and Jack Dorsey, the company’s co-founder and chairman.
Assuming that the reports are correct, the purchase of Periscope is part of Twitter’s efforts to boost the video capabilities of its main service. Twitter took steps to sharpen its focus on video last year, by introducing video ads and launching a feature that allowed users to upload and edit their own videos.
In other Twitter news, the company today announced that it had opened an office in Hong Kong, in a bid to lure more Chinese advertisers to its service. While the company’s service is blocked in mainland China, it hopes that the move will allow it to target global Chinese companies more successfully.
The Financial Times quoted Peter Greenberger, the head of Twitter’s emerging markets operations, as commenting: “The opportunity, we think, is huge. We know there’s demand. We’ve had some experience with Chinese companies already that are seeking to reach audiences overseas.”
In today’s trading, Twitter shares were 2.9 percent lower at $46.27, as of 14:46 UTC. The company’s stock has advanced 28.8 percent since the start of the year, boosting the firm’s market capitalisation to $30.5 billion.
According to the Financial Times, the 33 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Twitter have a median target of $52.00, with a high estimate of $67.00 and a low estimate of $30.00. As of February 28, 2015, the consensus forecast amongst 40 polled investment analysts covering Twitter suggests that the company will outperform the market. This stance has been maintained since the sentiment of investment analysts improved on December 17, 2014.