Exclusive: Twitter to conclude sale deliberations this month: sources

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(Reuters) - Twitter Inc. has told potential acquirers it is seeking to conclude negotiations about selling itself by the time it reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 27, according to people familiar with the matter.

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The timeline is hugely ambitious in the context of most mergers and acquisitions, given that Twitter began mulling a sale only last month. It is the clearest sign yet that Chief Executive Jack Dorsey is pushing to provide clarity to shareholders and employees over the company's future as quickly as possible.

Binding acquisition offers are due in the next two weeks, and Twitter has already whittled down the field of potential acquirers, the people said this week. Salesforce.com Inc <CRM.N> is in the running, while Google parent Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O>, and Walt Disney Co <DIS.N> have also been contemplating bids, the people added.

It is not certain the process will result in a sale, the people cautioned. The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Twitter and Salesforce declined to comment. Disney and Google did not return requests for comment.

With Salesforce.com, Twitter might turn its focus to customer service communications and mining its database of tweets for business intelligence. Google would likely be most interested in the social and news dimensions of Twitter. Disney, by contrast, might see it as a way to expand the reach of its sports and entertainment programming.

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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 has struggled to generate revenue growth and profit, despite having some 313 million average monthly active users and a growing presence as a source of news.

The company missed Wall Street's sales expectations in both the first and second quarters of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, and has yet to produce a net profit in 11 quarters as a public company.

It has also failed to keep pace with rivals, notably Facebook Inc's <FB.O> Instagram and Snapchat. Both now boast more users than Twitter by most measures, even though they are much newer, and advertisers have begun to migrate their ad dollars accordingly.

Dorsey, who returned to Twitter as chief executive more than a year ago, has been part of Disney's board since 2013.

Twitter went public in November 2013 at $26 a share. The shares peaked above $74 just over a month after its IPO, but have been on steady downward trajectory since.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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