After buying a decent-sized chunk of Twitter last month, megabillionaire Elon Musk discovered that being the largest shareholder of a social media company that you're already in trouble for using to your advantage to manipulate your company stocks with has headaches of its own. Offered a seat on Twitter's board of directors, Musk walked away from a background check and the fine print of realizing he couldn't use Twitter to play stock games if he was bound to the company like that.
Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share in a filing published Thursday, saying the social media company needs to be transformed privately, a little over a week after first revealing a 9.2% stake in the company. Musk’s offer values Twitter at about $43 billion.
“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,” Musk wrote in a letter sent to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor and disclosed in a securities filing.
According to Musk, the social media company needs to go private because it can “neither thrive nor serve” free speech in its current state.
“As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced,” he wrote. “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 shares jumped more than 6% in premarket trading after closing at $45.85 a share on Wednesday. Musk tapped Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor, according to the filing.
“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,” the company said in a statement Thursday in response to the offer. CNBC’s David Faber reported on “Squawk on the Street” that Twitter’s board will meet at 10 a.m. to evaluate the bid, per people familiar.
The news comes just days after Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal warned investors of “distractions ahead.”
Musk first disclosed his stake in the social media giant on April 4. He later landed a seat on the company’s board of directors before reversing those plans.
The Tesla CEO has previously criticized the social media giant publicly, polling people on Twitter last month about whether the company abides by free speech principles. He also said he was considering building a new social media platform.
Shares of Twitter have seesawed in recent weeks amid the news from Musk, but are up 6% this year and 18.5% since the start of the month.
Understand that while I said that thought Musk was getting a deal with his 10% of the company and a seat on the board to manipulate the social media platform, Musk is clearly willing to buy the whole platform, take it private, and make it answerable to nobody but Elon Musk himself. Doing that with a global social media platform is wildly disturbing and unethical considering Musk's behavior on Twitter over the years, using it to goose stock prices where he makes billions and pays "wipe my ass" chicken feed in SEC fines.
With the entire structure of Twitter at his command, he could make it do whatever he wanted.
You know, like bring Donald Trump back and ban anyone he didn't like. The terms and conditions of Twitter usage would be "Screw you, I'm Elon Musk." Accountability would be zero, he could start charging all users instead of just Twitter Blue accounts, he could rename the service "Musktown" and more importantly, he'd have full control over every word on the platform.
If you're like me and believe that no one person should have that kind of power, well, we'll see what Twitter's board says.