Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is selling his Twitter account, claiming that not being fully committed to free speech needs to be transformed as a private company.
In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Musk, the company's largest individual shareholder, claimed to have proposed buying the remaining shares of Twitter that he does not own at $54.20 per share, a offer valued at more than $43 billion.
Musk called that price his finest and final offer, although he provided no details on financing. The offer is non-binding and subject to financing and other conditions.
In a statement, Musk said, I invested in Twitter as I believe it will be the platform for free speech around the world, and I believe that free speech is a societal determinant for a functioning democracy.
Twitter's stock has risen 4.7 percent to $47.83, but it is well below Musk's offer price, indicating that some investors may doubt the agreement will go through. The stock is still down from its 52-week high of $73.
Twitter has stated that it has received Musk's offer and will decide if it is in the best interests of shareholders to accept or continue to operate as a publicly traded corporation.
Analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush said in a client note that "this soap opera will come to an end with Musk's ownership of Twitter following this aggressive hostile acquisition of the company." He believes that any other bidders or consortium would struggle to accept Musk's offer or start a process to sell the company.
In regulatory filings, Musk revealed in recent weeks that he'd been buying shares in almost daily batches starting January 31, ending up with. Only Vanguard Group's mutual funds and ETFs control more Twitter shares. In a federal court in New York, Musk accused us of illegally delayed disclosure of his interest in the social media company so that he could purchase additional shares at lower prices.
In recent weeks, the billionaire has been a vocal critic of Twitter, mostly because to his conviction that it is not respected on free speech principles. Despite the criticism, the social media platform has enraged followers of Donald Trump and other extreme political groups who have had their accounts suspended for violating its content standards, including violence, hate, or harmful misinformation. Musk has also criticized other Twitter users who question or disagree with him.
According to a filing, Musk announced his interest in Twitter, enabling him to take seat on its board on the condition that he does not own more than 14.9% of the company's outstanding stock. Five days later, the company said.
He didn't explain why, but the decision resulted in a slew of now-deleted tweets from Musk, proposing significant changes to the business, such as dropping advertising its biggest source of revenue and transforming its San Francisco business into a homeless shelter.
Twitter hasn't done as well as its social media competitors and lost money last year. A net loss of $221 million for 2021 was largely related to the settlement of a lawsuit by shareholders, who claimed the company misled investors about how much its user base was growing and how many people interacted with its platform. In late November, CEO Jack Dorsey was replaced by Parag Agrawal, who is now CEO.
Musk's more than 81 million followers include musicians like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. His frequent posting has jeopardized him with the Securities and Exchange Commission and others.
Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines in 2018, and Musk should have his comments approved by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted that he would buy Tesla privately at $420 per share. Musk's latest concern with the Securities and Exchange Commission may be his postponement in advising regulators.
Both his 2018 observations about taking Tesla private at $420 per share and his latest suggestion to take Twitter private at $54.20 per share sounded like a reference to marijuana.
The Associated Press