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Twitter Buys Gnip In Social Analytics Push

Stocks in this article: TWTR

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Twitter (TWTR) said on Tuesday it acquired Gnip, a longtime partner that evaluates social data, as the popular micro-blogging site seeks to bolster its analytic capabilities. The move is similar to other deals Twitter has cut within its ecosystem such as the 2011 acquisition of TweetDeck.

Twitter did not disclose a price of its Gnip acquisition. The company reportedly paid $40 million for TweetDeck, while the company reportedly paid $30 million for micro-video site Vine. Twitter's largest acquisition to date is a $350 million deal for digital publisher MoPub, announced in September 2013.

With Gnip, Twitter expects it will make data on its site to marketers that place advertisements on the site. "[W]ith the help of Gnip's Boulder-based team, we will be extending our data platform - through Gnip and our existing public APIs - even further," Jana Messerschmidt, Twitter's VP of Global Development, said in a blog post.

"We believe Gnip has only begun to scratch the surface. Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter," Messerschmidt added.

Gnip's relevance to Twitter and its advertising customers is underscored by the company's life after its November initial public offering. Twitter increasingly will need to show investors and marketers that advertising dollars spent on the site pay off. Those ad dollars also come as some question Twitter's user growth and engagement.

Shares in the company have fallen over 30% year-to-date on slowing growth figures, putting shares below their first-day close. Twitter opened Tuesday trading just over $41 a share, or a near $25 billion market capitalization.

Lockup Won't Set Dorsey, Williams, Benchmark Free

On Monday Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, CEO Richard Costolo and early VC-investor Benchmark said they won't sell shares in the micro-blogging giant as a May 5 lockup looms.

That disclosure made in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, boosted Twitter shares on Monday.

"Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, co-founders of Twitter, and our Chief Executive Officer, Richard Costolo, have informed us that they have no current plans to sell any of their shares of Twitter common stock," Twitter said. "Additionally, Benchmark venture capital funds, which are affiliated with a member of our board of directors, have informed us they have no present intention to sell or distribute stock to their limited partners before or immediately after the expiration of our lockup on May 5, 2014," the company added.

Dorsey, Williams and Costolo will have the ability to sell their shares in the 90-days after Twitter's next lockup expiry, given a so-called cooling off period that has been put in place by the company. Other top Twitter executives have also pledged to either retain their shares, Twitter said.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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