On April 4 billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk disclosed a major stake in Twitter Inc. It appeared that his share in the company stock was more than 9%, which naturally invoked various speculations about how he would influence the network’s future. The company’s shares rose roughly 15% since Musk disclosed his stake.
Musk had been frequently tweeting ideas for the changes to the social media platform previously, being apparently interested in making it better. Thus, one of the most popular alterations suggested by Twitter users was an “Edit button”, i.e. the possibility to edit your tweet after posting it.
Over the next week, the company offered Musk a board seat which he accepted. This would have restricted him to owning not more than 14.9% of the company’s stock. Five days later, he changed his mind and rejected the offer. The company’s management, employees, investors and interested observers were left clueless about his plans. In retrospect, this was in fact the first clue that he may have something more impactful than just buying some stock of serving as a board member on his mind.
On April 14 he disclosed his $43 billion takeover offer to buy the social media company (which was a pretty fair bargain for something with a $37 billion market cap). Elon described the Twitter offer as his “best and final” one.
The Twitter board of directors responded by introducing a so-called “poison pill” aimed to prevent Musk (and anyone else) from taking over the company simply by purchasing shares on the open market.
As a response, Tesla owner posted a number of critical tweets at the board, characterizing the directors as irresponsible for turning away his overtures.
“This is not a way to sort of make money,” Musk Pointed out in an interview. He also said during the talk that he would try to retain as many shareholders as possible for a private company. In a letter he wrote to Twitter Chairman he also emphasized: “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.”
People familiar with the matter inform that Twitter is exploring the possibility of putting together a bid. As Twitter is still on the market, this story will most likely continue to unfold, so we shall wait to see what happens next.