Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, saying the social media platform he has criticized for failing to live up to free speech principles should be turned private.
Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing Thursday that Musk, currently the company’s largest shareholder, has proposed to buy the remaining shares of Twitter he doesn’t already own at $54.20 a share, an offer worth more than $43 billion. of dollars.
Musk called that price his best and last offer, although he did not provide details on financing. The offer is not binding and is subject to financing and other conditions.
“I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be the platform for freedom of expression around the world, and I believe that freedom of expression is a social imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in the presentation. “However, since making my investment, I now realize that the company will not prosper or meet this social imperative in its current form. Twitter must be transformed into a private company.”
Twitter said it has received Musk’s offer and will decide whether it is in the best interest of shareholders to accept or continue operating as a publicly traded company.
Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note to a client that he believes “this soap opera will end with Musk owning Twitter after this aggressive and hostile takeover of the company.” He believes it would be difficult for any other bidder or consortium to come forward and said Twitter’s board of directors will likely be forced to accept Musk’s offer or start a process to sell the company.
Musk disclosed in regulatory filings in recent weeks that he had been buying shares in near-daily batches beginning Jan. 31, ending up with a stake of about 9 percent. Only Vanguard Group’s set of mutual funds and ETFs controls more Twitter stock.
SEE | Musk’s involvement on Twitter raises questions about his plans:
The billionaire has been a vocal critic of Twitter in recent weeks, mainly for his belief that it does not comply with the principles of free expression. The social media platform has angered supporters of Donald Trump and other far-right political figures who have had their accounts suspended for violating its content standards on violence, hate or harmful misinformation. Musk also has a history of his own tweets causing legal trouble.
After Musk announced his involvement, Twitter quickly offered him a seat on its board on the condition that he own no more than 14.9 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, according to a filing. But five days later he said that he had refused.
He did not explain why, but the decision coincided with a barrage of now-deleted tweets from Musk proposing major changes for the company, such as removing ads, its main source of revenue, and transforming its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter. . Musk left a few hints on Twitter about his thinking, like “liking” a tweet that summed up the events in which Musk went from being “the biggest free speech stockholder” to being “told to behave well and not speak freely”.
great follow up
Musk’s 81 million followers on Twitter make him one of the most popular figures on the platform, rivaling pop stars like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. But his prolific tweets have at times gotten him in trouble with the SEC and others.
Musk and Tesla agreed in 2018 to pay $40 million in civil penalties and to have Musk’s tweets approved by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted about having the money to take Tesla private at $420 a share. That didn’t happen, but the tweet sent Tesla’s stock price higher. Musk’s latest issue with the SEC could be his delay in notifying regulators about his growing involvement in Twitter.
Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and has said he does not believe Twitter lives up to the principles of free speech, a view shared by supporters of Donald Trump and other figures. right-wing politicians who have had their accounts suspended for violating Twitter’s content rules.
Twitter shares rose 11 percent before the market opened. The stock is still below its 52-week high of around $73. Shares of Tesla, the electric vehicle maker led by Musk, fell about 0.9 percent.