On Monday, April 25, World richest person and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk initiated a buyout deal of $44 billion to take control of the 16-year old microblogging platform, Twitter.
Over the years, the social network platform gained popularity and became the public square for over 206 million users as of 2021, which included some of the most influential world leaders, celebrities and professionals. some of the most followed persons on Twitter are American singer, Katy Perry, Canadian-American singer, Justin Bieber and former United States president, Barack Obama.
Twitter Inc. on Monday, agreed to sell itself to the Tesla chief, Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share. This was following an earlier acquisition of 73.5 million Twitter shares by Elon Musk, in March, which momentarily made him the highest shareholder of the company.
Popular predictions from analysts suggested that Mr. Musk was likely going to join the Twitter board and try to use his wealth of experience in tech and business leadership to turn things around, I’m not sure many people say the takeover bid coming, but the surprise would have been much bigger if the Tesla chief hadn’t earlier turned down an earlier offer to join Twitter board.
Recall that Twitter has a financial filing which limits Elon Musk from owning more that 14.9% stake in the company’s common stock.
Elon Musk, who claims to be a free speech absolutist, has recently criticized Twitter’s posts algorithm and moderation, demanding that the algorithm for prioritizing tweets be made public, as he has also objected to the excessive power giving to advertisers on the microblogging App.
Following the recent criticisms by Mr. Musk, the SpaceX founder and CEO, in recent tweets, suggested some possible tweaks to twitter App and the modus operandi, shortly after he made known to the Twitter board, his financing to buy Twitter, last week.
Many anticipate that Elon Musk’s Twitter regime would see less post moderation and a possible reinstatement of banned users, with former President Donald Trump on the top of the list, judging by his free speech advocacy.
In a statement, Mr. Musk said; “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,”.
Elon Musk who is a whale in many oceans has put the Twitter board under pressure with his bid as they commence negotiations of his takeover bid at his proposed $54.20 per share price.
Twitter co-founder and former CEO, Jack Dorsey in a thread of tweets, thanks both Elon Musk and Parag Agrawal, Twitter CEO, for getting the company out of an impossible situation.
In his tweet, he stated, “Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step,”.
A Twitter stakeholder, Jonathan Boyar, managing director at Boyar Value Group said; “I think if the company were given enough time to transform, we would have made substantially more than what Musk is currently offering,” adding that, “If the public markets do not properly value a company, an acquirer eventually will.”
Twitter announced that Elon Musk is providing a $21 billion equity commitment and has secured a $25.5 billion of debt and margin loan financing for the takeover of the company.
The Tesla chief and world richest man who’s net worth is valued at over $260 billion according Forbes, has stated he has no concerns with the economics of Twitter at the moment. In his statement, he said; “Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all,” while the current Twitter CEO, Agrawal, told employees on Monday; “Once the deal closes, we don’t know which direction the platform will go.”
The White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, after declining to comment on Elon Musk’s Twitter deal said President Joe Biden has long been concerned about the power of social media platforms and the need for the platforms to be held accountable, stating; “Our concerns are not new, the president has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation.”
Musk’s Twitter take over bid is only a continuation of billionaires’ buying control of popular and influential media platforms, with Mark Zuckerberg acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively, and Jeff Bezos acquisition of The Washington Post, in 2013