Musk launches $43 billion hostile bid for Twitter
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, saying the social media platform he has criticised for not living up to free speech principles needs to be transformed as a private company.
Twitter said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that Musk, currently the company’s biggest shareholder, has proposed buying the remaining shares of Twitter that he doesn’t already own at $54.2 per share, an offer worth more than $43 billion. Musk called that price his best and final offer.
The offer is non-binding and subject to financing and other conditions. “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in the filing.
“However, since making my investment I realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.” Tesla CEO Musk is offering to buy Twitter as he has proposed buying the remaining shares of the social media platform.
Twitter shares rose to $47.83, up 4.3% but well below Musk’s offer price, a sign that some investors may doubt the deal will go through. The stock is still down from its 52-week high of about $73. Twitter said it has received Musk’s offer and will decide whether it is in the best interests of shareholders to accept or continue to operate as a publicly traded company.
Musk revealed in regulatory filings over recent weeks that he’d been buying shares in almost daily batches starting January 31, ending up with a stake of about 9%. Only Vanguard Group’s suite of mutual funds and ETFs controls more Twitter shares. A lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York federal court alleged that Musk illegally delayed disclosing his stake in the social media company so he could buy more shares at lower prices.
The billionaire has been a critic of Twitter in recent weeks, mostly over his belief that it falls short on free speech principles. The social media platform has angered followers of Donald Trump and other far-right political figures who’ve had their accounts suspended for violating its content standards. Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist” but is also known for blocking other Twitter users who question or disagree with him.
After Musk announced his stake, Twitter quickly offered him a seat on its board on the condition that he not own more than 14.9% of the company’s outstanding stock, according to a filing. But the company said five days later that he’d declined. He didn’t explain why.