Elon Musk

Musk offers to buy Twitter for £30bn

Image credit: Reuters

Elon Musk has offered to buy Twitter for approximately $43bn dollars (£30.5bn), according to a regulatory filing, just days after it was announced that he would not be joining the social media platform’s board of directors.

Musk, the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX boss, has proposed buying “100 per cent of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash”, which values the company at around $43bn.

According to his Securities and Exchange Commission filing, this represents a 54 per cent premium on the share price over the day before he began investing in the company in late January.

In his filing, Musk wrote “I don’t have confidence in management” and stated that he couldn’t make the changes he wanted to make to Twitter in the public market.

If his 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 chairman and also co-CEO at Salesforce, which was included in the SEC filing. “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it,” Musk wrote.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Musk had bought a 9 per cent stake in Twitter and was subsequently invited to join its board, only for Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal to confirm that Musk had changed his mind just days later, before warning of ‘distractions ahead’ - a state of affairs that has already come to pass.

Musk claims that changes are needed at Twitter in order to help the site thrive and better support free speech. In his letter to Taylor, Musk said he had invested in the social media platform “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”, but added “since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form”.

Musk joined Twitter as a user in June 2009 and has been an active user of the platform ever since.

In the SEC filing, Musk said that he was not “playing the back-and-forth game” and that he had “moved straight to the end.”

He continued: “It’s a high price and your shareholders will love it. 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.”

In the past, Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and has said he does not think Twitter is living up to free speech principles.

Announcing "I made an offer" to his nearly 82 million followers on Twitter earlier today, Musk is already experiencing considerable pushback from users, as people point out the inherent contradictions in one rich man owning outright a supposedly independent "free speech" platform.

Earlier this week, Marc Bain Rasella, a Twitter shareholder, filed a lawsuit against Musk, alleging that he had manipulated Twitter’s share price by delaying his announcement that he had acquired over 5 per cent ownership in the company by March 14, breaking SEC rules.

Rasella claimed that Musk’s delay in making the required disclosure within 10 days allowed him to buy more shares at a lower price than he would have otherwise, cheating other shareholders who sold in the interim.

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