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Shares in social media website Twitter plunged by a fifth on Thursday amid worries about a lack of takeover interest. Technology website Recode reported that Google, Apple and Walt Disney were unlikely to bid for the company.

Cloud software company Salesforce.com is now thought to be the most likely buyer of the business. Twitter shares rose 5.74% on Wednesday on reports that it was expected to receive takeover bids this week.

Last month, the company’s shares shot up by 20% after a report said it had received takeover approaches, and that its directors were open to a deal which could come by the end of the year.

Twitter had been the subject of takeover rumours prior to that, but was getting closer to a sale, according to US business news channel CNBC.

Twitter has suffered because its user figures have plateaued at about 300 million and it has not “been able to figure out a way to make money on those 300 million people, so they’ve had lots of swings at it and it hasn’t worked,” Douglas McIntyre, from 24/7 Wall Street in New York, said.

The boss of Salesforce.com has declined to be drawn on his intentions as regards Twitter. Chief executive Marc Benioff told CNBC on Wednesday that he would not “start a precedent by having to address specific deals”.

He then added: “The reality is we have to look at everything, but we’re going to pass on most things.”

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