Report: Twitter begins discussions to explore a sale

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Sept 23 (Reuters) - Twitter Inc has initiated talks with several technology companies to explore selling itself, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the social media company grapples with its slowest revenue growth since going public in 2013.

The sale negotiations will test Twitter's value both as a data and multimedia company, as other social media services such as Facebook's Instagram and Snapchat are expanding their footprints and developing new ways to generate profits.

CNBC reported earlier on Friday, citing anonymous sources, that Twitter is in talks with companies that include Alphabet's Google and Salesforce.com, and may receive a formal bid soon.

PHOTOS: See the evolution of Twitter:

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Twitter history
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 02: In this photograph illustration a member of the social networking site Twitter follows the twitterings of friends during a work break on July 2, 2009 in Manchester, England. The social network site, started in 2006 in California as a sideline project, has grown into a global brand becoming one of the fastest growing phenomenas of the Internet. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 02: In this photo illustration the Twitter website is displayed on a laptop computer on July 2, 2009 in London. The social network site, started in 2006 in California as a sideline project, has grown into a global brand becoming one of the fastest growing phenomenas of the Internet. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 02: In this photo illustration the Twitter website is displayed on a mobile phone near Parliament on July 2, 2009 in London. The social network site, started in 2006 in California as a sideline project, has grown into a global brand becoming one of the fastest growing phenomenas of the Internet. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (L) and conference organizer Steve Broback (R) from the Parnussus Group, pose for photographers at the start of the Twitter Conference LA in Los Angeles on September 22, 2009. Twitter, the micro-blogging platform which has attracted tens of millions of users but has yet to make money, has changed its terms to potentially open up the free service to advertisers. Twitter, which allows users to pepper one another with messages of 140 characters or less, has seen explosive growth since it launched publicly in August 2006 but has been unable so far to generate revenue. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Julie Strange, a 27-year-old librarian at Towson Library in Maryland, shows a Twitter message on her phone displaying information on how to donate to the Red Cross. (Photo by Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
A screen shows the Twitter messages of users giving prayers for missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur on March 28, 2013. Planes and ships were to resume the hunt for wreckage of flight MH370 after the weather cleared, as they chase down more satellite sightings of suspected debris nearly three weeks after the jet crashed. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Katy Perry poses for a portrait backstage with the Twitter mirror at the 28th Annual ARIA Awards 2014 at the Star on November 26, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/WireImage)
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​​​Twitter and Alphabet could not be reached immediately for comment. Salesforce declined to comment.

Twitter shares rose the most since its stock market debut in 2013, up 21 percent to $22.59, giving the company a market capitalization of close to $16 billion.

Twitter has been a near-constant focus of takeover speculation amid persistently disappointing sales and user engagement. In its most recent quarterly earnings statement, Twitter's revenue missed Wall Street estimates and the revenue forecast for the current quarter of $590 million to $610 million was well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18 million.

As rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat gain traction with advertisers and social media users, investors have questioned how long Twitter could persist as a stand-alone company.

Co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company as chief executive in 2015, but his plan for reviving Twitter is at best seen as unfinished. (Reporting By Greg Roumeliotis and Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Now see Fortune's top 10 companies of 2016:

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Fortune's top 10 companies

AT&T
Fortune 500 Rank: 10
2015 Revenue: $146.8B

Photo credit: Getty

Ford Motors
Fortune 500 Rank: 9
2015 Revenue: $149.6B

Photo credit: Shutterstock

General Motors
Fortune 500 Rank: 8
2015 Revenue: $152.4B

Photo credit: Shutterstock

CVS Health
Fortune 500 Rank: 7
2015 Revenue: $153.3B

Photo credit: Getty

UnitedHealth Group    
Fortune 500 Rank: 6
2015 Revenue: $157.1B

Photo credit: Getty 

Berkshire Hathaway    
Fortune 500 Rank: 4
2015 Revenue: $210.8B

Photo credit: Getty 

Apple
Fortune 500 Rank: 3
2015 Revenue: $233.7B

Photo credit: Getty

Wal-Mart    
Fortune 500 Rank: 1
2015 Revenue: $482.1B

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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