Twitter banker hire isn’t about IPO

May 6, 2013, 9:04 PM UTC
Fortune

FORTUNE — Twitter revved up IPO rumors last week, by announcing that it had hired Morgan Stanley banker Cynthia Gaylor as head of corporate development. But there may be less here than meets the eye.

To be sure, the speculation is understandable. Gaylor worked on numerous tech transactions during her seven years at Morgan Stanley (MS), including the Facebook’s (FB) initial public offering last spring. And, on the surface, her hiring does look a bit akin to Google (GOOG) bringing banker Lise Buyer in-house to manage its own going public process one year before it actually listed.

But sources tell Fortune that Twitter actually began recruiting for this position last summer, and that it originally targeted existing corporate development executives rather than bankers. In other words, the micro-messaging company was much more interested in someone to manage M&A than a public listing.

Even Gaylor herself seemed to indicate as much in her inaugural tweet:

So while Gaylor’s hiring doesn’t mean much for the IPO tea leaves, it should be interesting to see if her arrival helps upsize Twitter’s acquisition strategy. She’s got experience on large deals — including Amazon’s (AMZN) $880 million purchase of Zappos and Google’s $750 million purchase of AdMob — while Twitter has mostly focused on smaller transactions (or getting outbid on large ones, like Instagram).

A Twitter spokesman declined comment.

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