Following weeks of rumors regarding Twitter's interest in purchasing Chinese social media app TikTok, Twitter CFO Ned Segal addressed the claims, stating, "You shouldn't be surprised if you hear our name mentioned as an interested party."
Regarding the company's growth strategy, Segal told host Jim Cramer, "we've done about a dozen acquisitions over last year and a half," on CNBC's Mad Money Tuesday.
Segal's statements come as Microsoft continues its negotiations with ByteDance, TikTok's parent company. Last month, Microsoft said it would conclude discussions no later than September 15, the date President Trump set as the deadline for TikTok to find a U.S. buyer. If it fails to do so, Trump said he would shut down the app's American accessibility.
Since going public in 2013, Twitter has acquired a variety of companies in an effort to retain its competitive edge in the social media space. In 2015, it acquired video streaming app Periscope for $100 million in stock and cash, and a year later, acquired machine learning company Magic Pony Technology.
In 2017, Twitter acquired short-lived social media app Vine, from which TikTok draws the bulk of its interface. Today, the company is constantly looking for new acquisitions to make, Segal said.
"It's mostly people, sometimes it's tech, and, once in a while, we think of products or businesses that help us accelerate our priorities," he said. "Anything that will help us serve the public conversation better."
In its 2018 10-K filing, Twitter said its success depends in part on its "ability to expand [its] products, product features and services, and grow [its] business in response to changing technologies, user and advertiser demands, and competitive pressures."
To meet these demands, the company often turns to "the acquisition of complementary businesses and technologies rather than through internal development, including, for example, acquisitions of Periscope, a live-streaming video mobile application, and MoPub, a mobile-focused advertising exchange," it said.
Additionally, Twitter said, as part of its strategy to improve its products and services, it "may acquire other companies to add engineering talent or complementary products and technologies."
Twitter, on which President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden have active accounts, doesn't run political advertisements, and has recently been lauded for its effort to fact-check tweets.
"Our purpose is to serve the public conversation," Segal said. "That means, whether it's about baseball, politics, or something else people are passionate about, we want people to see all sides, be part of the conversation, and opine on other people's perspectives."
Asked why Twitter wouldn't opt to mute or disable the accounts of users who regularly tweet inaccurate or misleading statements, Segal referred back to the company's purpose.
"If people [who follow our rules] weren't able to tweet, that takes away from the conversation, not contributes to it," he said.
"We're really proud of the evolution of our policies, and how we've been able to enforce them consistently to build trust with [our user base], our content partners and our advertisers," Segal said.
Nonetheless, a TikTok acquisition could be as risky as it is pricey. The controversial app has drawn ire from both the President and assorted American tech giants.
In the 2018 10-K, Twitter said its future acquisitions could result in "dilutive issuances of equity securities, incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, [and] incremental operating expenses."