SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Weeks before he accepted a $1 billion buyout offer from Facebook Inc (FB.O), Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom had verbally agreed to a $525 million offer from Twitter, according to a report in The New York Times citing unnamed sources close to Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter executives were then shocked that Systrom went ahead with the Facebook deal without giving them a chance to make a counteroffer, the Times reported.
Systrom later told California state regulators under oath that his company had not received any “formal offers or term sheets” from potential buyers aside from Facebook, the Times report said, adding that its sources said Twitter executives had given Systrom a term sheet outlining the details of a proposed deal.
A spokeswoman for Facebook declined comment. Twitter could not be immediately reached for comment.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ultimately acquired Instagram after pushing through a cash-and-stock deal just weeks before Facebook’s May initial public offering. The transaction closed in September at a $715 million valuation, reflecting Facebook’s stock drop since the offering.
Relations between Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have soured since Facebook successfully swooped in on the photo service. Earlier this month, Instagram shut off a functionality that allowed Twitter to display Instagram pictures, while Twitter has introduced its own photo color-filters to compete with Instagram.
Reporting by Gerry Shih; editing by Marguerita Choy, Gary Crosse