‘This is not a threat,' says Elon Musk as he makes offer to buy Twitter

Elon Musk, who calls himself a free-speech absolutist, has been critical of the social media platform and its policies, and recently ran a poll on Twitter asking users if they believed the platform adheres to the principle of free speech.
Tesla chief Elon Musk. (AFP)
Tesla chief Elon Musk. (AFP)
Published on Apr 14, 2022 06:53 PM IST
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By | Written by Aryan Prakash

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has offered to buy social media microblogging site Twitter for about $41 billion cash, this days after the billionaire rejected an offer to join its board. According to the analysts, a board berth would have limited his stack to just under 15 per cent in the company. While making the offer, Musk said the social media platform needed to go private to witness effective changes.

Musk's offer price of $54.20 per share, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing on Thursday, represents a 38% premium to Twitter's April 1 close, the last trading day before the Tesla CEO's more than 9% stake in the company was made public.

From announcing a nine per cent stake in the platform to ultimately offering buy it, Elon Musk has grabbed a lot of headlines in the last few days. Here's a brief chronology of the events.

March 26: Musk says Twitter failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy and asked if a new platform was needed.

April 4: Musk announces he bought a nine per cent stake in the micro-blogging site. His very first tweet after the big bang purchase was:

April 4: Elon Musk runs a poll on Twitter, asking his followers if they needed an edit button. The poll garners 4.04 million votes, with 73 per cent users voting ‘YES’. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted,"The consequences of the poll will be important. “Please vote carefully.”

April 5: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey welcomes Musk to the company's board. “I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it. Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team,” he tweeted.

April 5: Parag Agrawal too welcomes Musk to the Twitter's board. “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” he posted.

April 9: Musk tweets, "Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (ie pays $3/month) should get an authentication checkmark" about its subscription service that offers "exclusive access to premium features" on a monthly basis." Later, he deletes the tweet.

April 9: With respect to Twitter's business model, Musk tweets before deleting it: "And no ads. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive."

April 10: Musk starts a poll asking if "w" should be deleted from Twitter's name, leaving two voting options, "yes" and "of course." He deleted that too.

Parag Agrawal tweets,"Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief note to the company, sharing with you all here." Musk deletes the tweet, where he responded with an emoticon with a face-with-hand-over-mouth.

 

On the very same day, Musk sought a poll asking whether the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco should be converted into a homeless shelter. The tweet was later deleted.

April 12: Musk sued by former Twitter shareholders who claim they missed out on the recent run-up in its stock price because he waited too long to disclose a 9.2% stake in the social media company.

April 14: Musk tweets link to his filing before the Securities & Exchange Commission with a caption I made an offer".

“I am not playing the back-and-forth game. I have moved straight to the end. It's a high price and your shareholders will love it. If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” Musk told the board in the filing.

"This is not a threat, it's simply not a good investment without the changes that need to be made. And those changes won't happen without taking the company private," he added.

(With Reuters inputs)

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