Elon Musk is now seeking to buy all outstanding shares of Twitter at a $43 billion valuation and take the social media giant private in attempt to “unlock” its “extraordinary potential.”
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission published Thursday, the billionaire Tesla CEO pegged as the world’s richest man delivered a letter to Twitter on Wednesday proposing to acquire the company’s remaining shares at $54.20 apiece. That’s above the closing price of $45.86 on Wednesday, when the company had a $36.7 billion market cap.
“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 to Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor included in the SEC filing.
Twitter’s board said it would review Musk’s proposal and promised a response that would be in the best interests of “all Twitter stockholders.”
Musk’s takeover bid comes after the billionaire acquired a 9.1% stake in the company by mid-March and agreed to join the company’s board of directors — a plan that he reversed in a matter of days last week.
The billionaire has been an outspoken critic of Twitter, particularly its efforts to moderate content such as misinformation, calls for violence, harassment and conspiracy theories about COVID and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. He has joined a chorus of Republican politicians and activists in decrying penalties for those who break the platform’s terms of service — criticism that has intensified since Twitter placed an indefinite ban on former President Donald Trump in January 2021.
“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 said in his letter. “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.”
Musk also described his offer as “best and final,” adding, “I am not playing the back-and-forth game.”
“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,” he added.
Twitter’s changes in leadership and lack of innovation have left it open to takeover by someone like Musk, Aron Solomon, chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital, told TheWrap earlier this week. “This is Twitter’s own fault,” Solomon said. “Jack Dorsey didn’t do a good enough job as CEO.”
Parag Agrawal took over after founder Jack Dorsey exited as CEO last year, and the platform has struggled with product development as it aims for 315 million daily users and more than $7.5 billion in revenue in 2023.