On Thursday, April 14, Elon Musk announced an offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share.
This is a huge story with a lot of fast moving parts. It’s also a story that will likely stretch out over the next few months, maybe even longer. So we thought we’d put together a guide for you, our readers, to update as things evolve. Because, like Elonwe ❤️ you.
So buckle up – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The latest news:
The day after Musk announced his proposal to buy Twitter, the company’s board of directors responded with a poison pill. That’s basically the board’s way of saying, “Thanks, but no, thanks.”
The poison pill consists of a new “shareholder rights plan” that gives certain shareholders the right to buy more shares if Musk or another buyer tries to take control. And it signals that Twitter’s board of directors intends to fight Musk’s offer to take sole ownership of the company.
The story so far:
A thousand years ago, on April 4, 2022, Elon Musk announced that he had done it bought 9.1 percent of Twitter. The news that the richest man in the world was now (briefly) the largest shareholder of his favorite social media platform sent the share price soaring and some keyboard typing.
Musk immediately set about soliciting suggestions on how to improve Twitter by—what else— tweet a poll. The company replied with offer him a seat on the boarda move that would have confined him to it only own 15 percent of the company. At first he said yes. Then he changed his mind and said no. In the meantime, our resident Twitter and Musk experts, Casey Newton and Liz Lopattowent deeper into why Musk was flirting with Twitter and what the likely outcomes would be.
After turning down a seat on Twitter’s board of directors, Musk updated his filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to indicate that he would not be a passive player in the company’s affairs. Gone was the talk that he would limit his holdings to just 14.0 percent of the company. In hindsight, that was the first hint that he might be attempting something more impactful than just buying a few shares as a board member.
platformer Casey Newton isn’t the only one who didn’t think Musk would launch a hostile takeover of Twitter. After it was revealed that Musk had acquired 9.1 percent of the company’s stock, many people briefly considered that Musk might attempt to buy the entire company, only to conclude that he already had it all with Twitter had what he wanted.
Casey was right when he posited that Twitter’s poison pill regulations might not be enough to stop Musk. But he also assumed that Musk would just keep trolling the company through his tweets — which is certainly still a likely outcome.
Anyone who’s been in the market to buy a home knows “best and final” deals. In his opening salvo, Musk claims his offer to buy Twitter is just that. Whether that strengthens his position or corners him is too early to tell. But it’s clear that he’s offering Twitter shareholders a fairly fair bounty: $43 billion for a company with a $37 billion market cap.
Musk says Twitter will need to go private to make the needed changes. These include an editing feature, an open-source algorithm, less moderation, and a higher bar for removing objectionable tweets.
Musk is a very rich man. So of course he would say he’s not interested in buying Twitter to make money. He sees Twitter as a “de facto marketplace” and wants to open source the social media company’s algorithm. He’s trying to portray the whole takeover bid as some kind of crusade to protect freedom of speech.
But even a free speech maximalist like Musk has to convince shareholders that his takeover bid is in their financial self-interest. What else are we doing here?
Musk is a prolific Twitter user. He’s also a troll, and Liz Lopatto lays out exactly what he needs to do to make people take him more seriously. Musk tends to shoot from the hip, but several corporate governance experts told us they doubt he really thought it through.
He didn’t initiate funding to buy Twitter and take it private. He works with Morgan Stanley, but it’s unclear if he’s really listening to them. Musk himself said that he might not win in the end. If he manages to press Twitter to make the changes he wants, he can simply withdraw his offer. Everything is possible.
Behind the scenes, Twitter board members are planning their response to the world’s richest man’s takeover scheme. There’s the poison pill, as well as previous provisions in the company’s articles of incorporation, that could make it extremely difficult for Musk to take control.
Twitter’s first all-hands meeting after Musk’s offer was made public was an odd one. After serenading the staff of the Backstreet Boys and Aretha Franklin, the company said it would look further into the offer.
Staff told Alex Heath they were frustrated by the lack of a more detailed answer. They are concerned about the future of the social media platform, as well as possible layoffs.
Hours after announcing his offer to buy Twitter, Musk took to the stage in Vancouver for a well-timed interview with TED Talk founder Chris Anderson. During the call, Musk spoke about his “obsession with the truth” and repeated comments he made in his SEC filing about wanting to protect freedom of speech and democracy.
But as Adi Robertson points out, his understanding of free speech seems nebulous at best. After reviewing Musk’s comments, as well as previous efforts by Twitter leaders to address language laws around the world, she concludes that Musk could be in for a rude awakening if he manages to buy the social media platform.
You can’t underestimate what a roller coaster ride it’s been so far. He buys stocks! He joins the board! No, wait, he’s not joining the board! He could buy more shares! No, wait, he wants to buy the whole megillah! This thing has more twists than a Shyamalan movie. And we’re not even halfway there.
https://www.theverge.com/23026874/elon-musk-twitter-buyout-news-updates Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter: Here’s everything you need to know