Business Insider Edition

Twitter acquired a startup for more than R320 million last quarter, and it's probably this London AI company

Rob Price , Business Insider US
 Aug 01, 2019, 12:17 PM
  • Twitter spent R328 million to acquire an unnamed startup in the second quarter of 2019.
  • The startup appears to be Fabula AI, a machine learning business from London that Twitter had previously announced it had bought for an undisclosed sum.
  • The R328 million figure was disclosed in a corporate filing, and a Twitter spokesperson declined to share more info about what it was for.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Twitter acquired a startup for $22.8 million (R328 million) at some point between April and June of 2019.

In a corporate filing made public on Wednesday, the San Francisco-based social networking firm disclosed that it had spent more than $20 million (R288 million) to acquire a company in the second quarter of the year.

Twitter did not disclose the name of the company in the filing, and a Twitter spokesperson declined to share more information with Business Insider about it.

It appears to be Fabula AI, a London-based machine learning (ML) startup that builds tech to fight fake news, that Twitter announced it had acquired for an undisclosed sum in June 2019.

In a blog post at the time, Twitter said that it acquired Fabula AI to help build out its AI/ML research group, and that "this strategic investment in graph deep learning research, technology and talent will be a key driver as we work to help people feel safe on Twitter and help them see relevant information."

An alternative possibility is Highly, a document-highlighting service that announced it had been bought by Twitter in an acqui-hire on April 17.

Another option is that Twitter acquired a third, as-yet-undisclosed startup during the second quarter of 2019.

"During the three months ended June 30, 2019, the Company made an acquisition, which was accounted for as a business combination," Twitter said in its 10-Q SEC filing on Wednesday.

"The purchase price of $22.8 million (R328 million) paid in cash of $20.5 million (R295 million) and indemnification holdback of $2.3 million (R33 million)) for this acquisition was allocated as follows: $4.9 million (R70 million) to developed technology, $1.2 million (17 million) to net liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair value on the acquisition date, and the excess $19.1 million (R274 million) of the purchase price over the fair value of net assets acquired to goodwill. The goodwill from the acquisition is mainly attributable to assembled workforce, expected synergies and other benefits. The goodwill is not tax deductible. The developed technology will be amortized on a straight-line basis over its estimated useful life of 36 months."

Last week, Twitter announced its second-quarter financial results. It beat analysts expectations for revenue, bringing in $841 million (R12 billion), with a 21% year-on-year increase in ad sales. It made $37 million (R533 million) in profit, and its users grew at its fastest year-on-year rate since the summer of 2017 - a combination of factors that sent its stock jumping 7% in subsequent trading.

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