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Elon Musk's latest launch: An unsolicited Twitter takeover
$54.20 per share in cash so that SpaceX supremo can help 'unlock' app's 'potential'
Updated The Twitter-Elon-Musk saga has taken another turn, with the tech billionaire tabling an offer of $54.20 per share to buy the website outright.
The SpaceX and Tesla boss is famously keen on speaking his mind via social media, something that likely alarmed the company's board. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also expressed some frustration about the CEO's tweeting habits over the years. Particularly the ones that might be construed as having an affect on the markets.
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Freed from the 280-character constraints of Twitter, Musk's proposal to the Twitter board featured in an SEC filing today:
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.
However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.
As a result, I am offering to buy 100 percent of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54 percent premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38 percent premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.
Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.
As for Twitter, it responded tersely to the unsolicited offer: "The Twitter Board of Directors will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the Company and all Twitter stockholders."
While at first glance Musk's offer appears to put an attractive premium on the stock, Twitter's share price peaked at more than $70 last year, and topped $50 last week before falling back. Former Twitter shareholders this week filed a proposed class action [PDF] against the billionaire, alleging that a delay in Musk's notice to the SEC of the purchase of this initial stake resulted in them losing out.
In today's SEC filing, Musk described the offer as his "best and final", and said "I have moved straight to the end."
The deal puts a $44 billion price tag on Twitter – quite a hefty sum for an edit button. ®
Updated to add
At the TED 2022 conference in Canada on Thursday, Musk said in an interview, of Twitter, "I am not sure that I will actually be able to acquire it."
The businessman, who says he has an unspecified plan B in case his offer falls through, said he wanted Twitter's algorithm to be open source for inspection, and for the site to be more inclusive and trusted as a major public square on the internet.
So far, the Twitter board is not interested in his bid, and has devised a poison pill to thwart a hostile takeover.