Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter and turn it into a privately owned “freed speech platform.”
Musk taking over Twitter is a dream come true for many conservatives, and a nightmare for many liberals.
Weeks after becoming Twitter’s biggest shareholder, Musk offered to buy the social media company outright for $54.20 a share, or about $43 billion, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday.
I made an offer https://t.co/VvreuPMeLu
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2022
Musk, who confirmed the move in a tweet Thursday morning, said in the filing it was his “best and final offer.”
- “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,” wrote Musk, the billionaire chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX and the world’s richest man.
- “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form,” he wrote. “Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”
“If the offer is not accepted,” Musk said he would “need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” according to a letter sent to Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chair, Wednesday and enclosed in the filing. “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”
HOW WE GOT HERE
Musk disclosed he had bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter in an April 4 regulatory filing.
- The next day, Twitter announced Musk would join its board, but the company later revealed he had actually rejected the offer on Saturday.
- Musk would have had to agree to cap his ownership of Twitter as 14.9% as part of the deal, so the about-face spurred speculation that he was plotting a hostile takeover of the company.
- In a series of tweets this week, Musk asked his 80 million followers, “Is Twitter dying?” and proposed turning the company’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter.
Conservative commentators have celebrated the possibility of Musk taking control of Twitter given his longstanding criticism of the company for censorship.
- “A free Twitter would mean an open debate about ideas on the single most important incubator of elite opinion in the world. It would mean a return to free and fair elections in the United States …,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on air Tuesday. “And above all, a free Twitter would mean a direct challenge to the people in charge of our country’s institutions, many of whom are incompetent.”
- “Elon Musk seems to be our last hope,” Carlson added.
But prominent liberals in the media have warned that Musk’s Twitter, with its ostensibly open discourse, would be dangerously authoritarian and bigoted.
- “Will Musk use his clout to let [former President] Trump back on? I fear he will,” wrote Robert Reich, a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, in a column for The Guardian Tuesday.
- “Musk has long advocated a libertarian vision of an ‘uncontrolled’ internet. That vision is dangerous rubbish. … In reality, that world would be dominated by the richest and most powerful people in the world, who wouldn’t be accountable to anyone for facts, truth, science or the common good.
- “That’s Musk’s dream. And Trump’s. And [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s,” Reich continued. “And the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue and modern-day robber baron on Earth. For the rest of us, it would be a brave new nightmare.”
Also Tuesday, a group of former Twitter shareholders sued Musk for allegedly waiting too long to disclose his purchase of the company’s stock, saying they missed out on the subsequent run-up in stock price.
- After Musk disclosed his stake, Twitter shares rose 27% – from $39.31 to $49.97.
- Musk’s offer to buy Twitter came at an 18% premium over where Twitter shares ended trading on Wednesday.