Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is attempting to purchase Twitter, claiming that the social media platform he has criticized for failing to meet his free speech ambitions must be transformed as a private business.
In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Twitter Inc. stated that Musk, the company's largest shareholder, has proposed buying the remaining shares of Twitter that he doesn't already own at $54.20 per share, a deal worth $43 billion.
Musk called that price his best and final offer, even if he provided no details on financing. The offer is non-binding and subject to financing and other constraints.
In a statement, Musk said, "I invested in Twitter as I believe it to be the platform for libertarian speech around the world, and I believe free speech is a societal obligation for democracy." "Non-profit, however, is unable to thrive nor serve this societal obligation in its current form." Twitter must be transformed as a private company."
Twitter said it has received Musk's offer and will decide whether or not to continue to operate as a publicly traded company.
Analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush said in a client note that "this soap opera will conclude with Musk's ownership of Twitter as a result of this aggressive hostile acquisition of the company." He believes that anyone else's board would be pressured to accept Musk's offer or begin a selling process.
Musk's regulatory filings have revealed that he'd been buying shares in a regular manner beginning January 31, ending up with a share of 9%. Only the Vanguard Group's mutual funds and ETFs have control over more Twitter shares.
In recent weeks, the billionaire has been vocal criticizing Twitter, mostly because he believes it falls short on free speech principles. On the back of the social media platform, Donald Trump has angered supporters of other far-right political groups who have been suspended for violating its content standards on violence, hate, or harmful misinformation. Musk has also had a history of his own tweets causing legal problems.
According to a filing, Musk announced his participation and quickly offered him a seat on Twitter on the condition that he not own more than 14.9% of the company's outstanding stock. Five days later, he said he would decline.
Musk made a series of outrageous tweets from Twitter, including dropping advertising its biggest source of income and transforming its San Francisco office into a homeless shelter. Musk left a few clues on Twitter about his thinking, including by "liking" a tweet that referred to the events as going from "largest shareholder for Free Speech" to "told to play nice and not speak freely."
Musk's 81 million followers are making him one of the most popular performers on the platform, ranging from pop stars like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. His prolific posting has heored a lot in comparison to the Securities and Exchange Commission and others.
Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil penalties in 2018 and that Musk should have his tweets approved by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted about buying Tesla private at $420 per share. Musks latest concern with the Securities and Exchange Commission may be the delay in making public his large share in Twitter.
Musk has described himself as a "free speech idiot" and said he doesn't believe Twitter is respecting free speech principles, according to Donald Trump's supporters and a number of other right-wing political figures. They have been suspended their accounts for violating Twitter's content rules.
Twitter's stock is still down from its 52-week high of $73. Shares of Tesla, Musk's electric vehicle manufacturer, have dropped by 0.9 percent.