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Twitter CEO: No interest in selling the company

In an interview with CNBC, Dick Costolo says Twitter plans to stay an independent company and has no immediate plans to go public.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, appearing on CNBC today.
Screenshot by CNET

Twitter isn't interested in selling out, the company has no plans to go public, nor does it feel any pressure from its investors to get ready for an IPO.

That was the word from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, whose recent interview with CNBC was aired this morning.

"Nothing external to the company has had any bearing on how I think about when to take Twitter public or not to," Costolo told CNBC, adding that he's not interested in selling the company. "We have every hope and belief that we will be a successful -- independent -- company."

The decision of whether to sell Twitter, of course, is up to Twitter's board of directors. And it's easy for Costolo to take such a position since it's hard to imagine a suitor who would pony up what Twitter would want to be paid in an acquisition. At the same time, the company's board is probably not pushing to go public anytime soon because it's unlikely such a move could succeed in the wake of Facebook's IPO debacle. Given Twitter's already sky-high valuation of $8.7 billion (according to research firm PrivCo), institutional buyers probably wouldn't want in on the company's stock, even though it has 140 million active monthly users, since it still hasn't established a rock-solid revenue model.

But Twitter is also pushing hard right now on structural changes that it hopes will boost its profitability. Just last week, it announced a new mobile-first strategy aimed at settling on more user experience consistency across its many clients -- Web, iPhone, iPad, and Android -- a move that it clearly hopes will help it increase its advertising revenue.

Some have worried that Twitter's revenue model -- promoted tweets and trends -- may not be enough to make it a financial powerhouse. But in his CNBC interview, Costolo rejected that notion, saying that new features the company will offer advertisers will make all the difference. "Once the company rolls out more self-serve tools to advertisers," Costolo suggested, Twitter will finally have "'the scalable model that will do everything we need to do for the business.'"

On the other hand, Costolo also suggested that Twitter might have other ideas for generating revenue in the works. In the interview, he alluded to a system of e-commerce the company could roll out at some point. "It's particularly interesting in areas where you've got things like perishable inventory like tickets," Costolo says. "We observe that and are paying attention to that and are thinking about the kinds of ways we could participate in that value exchange."

Busy CEO
The last two weeks have been busy for Costolo. Last week alone, he was on both "The Today Show" and "Charlie Rose," and on stage at the Online News Association conference, and then he spoke to CNBC. He's used these appearances to share quite a bit about the company's plans, from its new mobile strategy, to its thoughts on recent changes affecting developers, and its vision of a future of value-added third-party applications. He also revealed that Twitter soon plans to allow users to download their entire archive of tweets.

Given that he's making the public rounds, one might conclude that he's building up interest for something -- such as a future IPO -- but his comments to CNBC would seem to throw water on such an idea.