Square, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's pet project and mobile payment startup, may consider selling itself to the highest bidder. After reporting a $100 million loss for last year, Square is reportedly in talks with Google, Apple, PayPal and others in regard to a sale.
Although reports are leaking left and right that Square is looking to sell itself soon and is currently in talks with big companies to do so, everyone involved stringently denies the rumors. Nonetheless, the idea that Square is on the market makes good solid business sense and companies habitually deny that they are shopping around for a buyer until they've secured a deal.
Three different sources from within Square told the Wall Street Journal that the company has held talks with Apple, Google, PayPal and other mobile industry heavyweights. The sources say that although the talks never entered the serious stage, the sale of Square was discussed. Additionally, of all the companies Square spoke with, Google was the one that was contacted most recently and most frequently.
According to the sources, Square met with Google twice: once last year and once this year. It is unknown if the talks will continue or if they will result in the sale of Square to Google. For its own part, Square denied that it has ever discussed a sale with Google.
"We are not, nor have we ever been, in acquisition talks with Google," a spokesman from Square said. "While we appreciate that Square may be an attractive target for some companies, we have never seriously considered selling to anyone or been in any talks to do so."
Neither Google nor Apple commented on the subject, but PayPal came out to deny that any talks had taken place between itself and Square.
"We did not have acquisition talks with Square," a PayPal spokesman said.
Even so, Square seems to be a prime candidate for sale to a larger company. Square is rife with untapped potential and despite its losses, it has a solid reputation among its users and in the tech industry. Many analysts believe that Square could fetch a premium price if it decides to sell.
"Square looks a lot like a company in transition," said Rick Oglesby, of consulting firm Double Diamond Payments Research. "It had very strong success in penetrating the micro-merchant market, but that market isn't a terribly profitable one, so Square needs to go up-market to find the real money."
If Square were to partner with a big-name tech company, it might be able to attract those high-end clients and become more profitable.