Tesla CEO Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for $43 billion

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, saying the social media platform he has criticized for failing to uphold free speech principles must be turned into a private company.

Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that Musk, currently the company’s largest shareholder, has offered to buy the remaining shares of Twitter he doesn’t already own at $54.20 per share, an offer of worth more than $43 billion.

Musk called the award his best and final offer, though he didn’t provide any details on funding. The offer is non-binding and subject to financing and other conditions.

“I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the world, and I believe that free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy” , Musk said in the filing. “However, since making my investment, I now realize that the business will not thrive or serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed into a private enterprise.

Twitter said it received Musk’s offer and will decide whether it is in shareholders’ best interests to accept or continue to operate as a publicly traded company.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a client note that he believes “this soap opera will end with Musk owning Twitter after this hostile and aggressive takeover of the company.” He thinks it would be difficult for any other bidder or consortium to come forward and said Twitter’s board would likely be forced to accept Musk’s offer or begin a process to sell the company. .

Musk has revealed in regulatory filings over the past few weeks that he bought shares in nearly daily lots starting Jan. 31, ending up with a roughly 9% stake. Only Vanguard Group’s suite of mutual funds and ETFs controls more Twitter stock.

READ MORE: Elon Musk takes 9.2% stake in Twitter and its stock soars

The billionaire has been a vocal critic of Twitter in recent weeks, largely over his belief that it fails to uphold the principles of free speech. The social media platform has angered supporters of Donald Trump and other far-right political figures whose accounts have been 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 participation, Twitter quickly offered him a seat on its board of directors on the condition that he own no more than 14.9% of the company’s outstanding shares, according to a filing. But he said five days later that he had refused.

He didn’t explain why, but the decision coincided with a barrage of now-deleted tweets from Musk proposing major changes to the company, such as removing ads – its main source of income – and transforming its headquarters. of San Francisco into a homeless shelter. Musk dropped some clues on Twitter about his thinking, such as ‘liking’ a tweet that summed up events as Musk went from ‘free speech’s biggest stakeholder’ to ‘order to play nice and not to speak freely”.

Musk’s 81 million Twitter followers 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 occasionally gotten him in trouble with the SEC and others.

In 2018, Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines and for Musk to have his tweets cleared by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted that he had the money to take Tesla private at $420 a share. . That didn’t happen, but the tweet sent Tesla’s stock price skyrocketing. Musk’s latest issue with the SEC may be his delay in telling regulators about his growing Twitter stake.

Musk has described himself as a ‘free speech absolutist’ and said he doesn’t believe Twitter upholds the principles of free speech – a view shared by Donald Trump supporters and a number other right-wing political figures who had their accounts suspended for violating Twitter’s content rules.

Shares of Twitter jumped 11% before the market opened. The stock is still down from its 52-week high of around $73. Shares of Tesla, the electric vehicle maker led by Musk, fell about 0.9%.

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