Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk took aim at Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) with a $43 billion cash takeover offer on Thursday, with the Tesla CEO saying the social media company needs to be taken private to grow and become a platform for free speech.
If Elon was on this board, that certainly does take some time away from the other obligations that he does have especially on a fiduciary duty front to shareholders of not just the private macro unicorn of SpaceX but also the publicly traded entity of Twitter as well.
"I think it's very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech," Musk, already San Francisco-based Twitter's second-largest shareholder, said at a TED Talk in Vancouver when asked about his bid.
Musk made the bid on Wednesday in a letter to the board of Twitter - the micro-blogging platform that has become a global means of communication for individuals and world leaders - and it was made public in a regulatory filing on Thursday. His offer price of $54.20 per share represents a 38% premium to Twitter's April 1 close, the last trading day before his 9.1% stake in the social media platform was made public.
Twitter revealed in a securities filing Thursday that the sometimes whimsical billionaire has offered to buy the company outright for more than $43 billion, saying the social media platform “needs to be transformed as a private company" in order to build trust with its users.
“This is not a sort of way to make money,” Musk said during an onstage interview at the TED 2022 conference Thursday. “Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.”
Like other platforms, Twitter over the past several years has established restrictions on tweets that threaten violence, incite hatred, bully others and spread misinformation. Such rules played a key role in Twitter's decision to ban former President Donald Trump following the 2021 Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6. Musk detailed some specific potential changes Thursday — like favoring temporary rather than permanent bans — but has mostly described his aim in broad and abstract terms.
You have a very dynamic CEO in Elon Musk, who has a lot of ideas. He was firing these ideas all weekend long. And you did start to get that inkling that perhaps that this wouldn't be the best fit. Obviously he does a lot of polls on Twitter. And when you sort of couple that with your fiduciary duty and some of the lines that he's come up against or perhaps crossed in some cases with the SEC, maybe this is the move to sort of tone things down and calm the noise. Perhaps this is something he can revisit later.