Elon Musk, the owner and CEO of Tesla, announced a $43 billion cash takeover bid for Twitter Incorporation on Thursday, claiming that the social media firm needs to be turned private in order to expand and become a platform for free expression.
When questioned about his proposal, Musk, who is currently Twitter’s second-largest shareholder, said during a TED Talk in Vancouver, “I think it’s really vital for there to be an inclusive environment for free expression.”
Musk made the offer in a letter to Twitter’s board of directors, which was made public in a regulatory filing on Thursday. Twitter is a microblogging site that has become a global method of communication for people and international leaders. His bid price of $54.20 a share is a 38 percent premium to Twitter’s closing on April 1, the last trading day before his 9.1% holding in the social media network was made public.
Musk, the world’s richest man with a fortune of $273.6 billion, declined an invitation to join Twitter’s board of directors on Saturday after declaring his investment, a move experts said indicated his takeover plans because a board position would have capped his holdings to just under 15%.
Musk alluded at the prospect of a hostile takeover of Twitter after his TED address, tweeting: “It would be totally immoral not to bring this offer to a shareholder vote.”
According to a source, Twitter was analysing the offer with the help of Goldman Sachs and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. According to the insider, the business was also preparing a poison pill as a precaution against Musk upping his share as early as Friday.
Shares of Twitter closed down 1.7% on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal tweeted from his verified account about the deal. Describing himself as one of the “largest & long-term shareholders of Twitter,” he said Musk’s offer undervalued the company and he rejected it.
Musk, for his part, told Twitter it was his “best and final offer” and said he would reconsider his investment if the board rejects it.