Twitter Inc shares plunged on Thursday as fears mounted that a much-anticipated auction of the social media company will draw minimal interest from potential buyers.
With stagnant user growth and continuing losses, Twitter's board agreed last month to consider a sale, and has told potential acquirers it wants such deliberations to conclude by the time it reports third-quarter earnings on October 27, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Technology website Recode reported later on Wednesday that Alphabet Inc's Google, long considered the most logical buyer for Twitter, and Walt Disney Co would not bid for the social network, leaving cloud software company Salesforce.com as the only known suitor.
Twitter shares fell as much as 19.2 per cent to $20.10, valuing the company at about $14.2 billion. They closed 20.1 per cent lower at $19.87.
Salesforce Chief Executive Mark Benioff has publicly expressed his interest in Twitter in recent days, but stopped short of saying the company had decided on a bid.
Analysts said he downplayed the possibility in a meeting with investors on Wednesday, sending Salesforce shares up about 4 per cent.
Other potential bidders beyond Salesforce are taking a look at Twitter, CNBC said, citing sources.
Apple Inc has also been rumored as a possible bidder, though Recode reported that Apple would not move forward.