Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, just days after Tesla’s CEO said he would no longer be joining the social media company’s board of directors.
Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing Thursday that Musk, who currently owns just over 9 percent of its shares and is the company’s largest shareholder, delivered a letter to the company on Wednesday containing a proposal to buy the shares. remaining shares of Twitter that you do not already own. Musk offered $54.20 per share of Twitter stock.
He called that price his best and last offer, though the billionaire did not provide financing details. 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 says 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 needs to transform into a private company.”
Musk’s takeover offer is just the latest development in his relationship with Twitter. The billionaire revealed in regulatory filings in recent weeks that he had been buying shares in almost daily batches beginning January 31. Only Vanguard Group’s set of mutual funds and ETFs controls more Twitter stock.
Musk has been a vocal critic of Twitter in recent weeks, primarily for his belief that it falls short of free speech principles. 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.
Musk said last week that he informed Twitter that he would not be joining its board of directors five days after being invited. 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. home. Musk left a few hints on Twitter about his thinking, such as “liking” a tweet that summed up the events when Musk went from being “the biggest free speech stockholder” to being “told to play nice and not speak freely “.
After Musk announced his involvement, Twitter quickly gave Musk 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 document. But Musk backed out of the deal.
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.
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