Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is known for using Twitter to tease out different thoughts he has about his business interests, cryptocurrencies, politics, and life in general, but it appears like one of his largest musings is coming to fruition today. Musk has accepted Twitter’s offer to buy the publicly traded firm for $54.20 a share, valuing the social media network at $44 billion.
Twitter published a press release shortly after word of the trading suspension surfaced, stating that it has accepted Musk’s offer to take the social network private.
Twitter’s Independent Board Chair Bret Taylor stated of the acquisition, “The Twitter Board executed a careful and extensive process to analyse Elon’s bid with a deliberate focus on value, predictability, and funding.” “We think the proposed deal would provide a significant cash premium to Twitter’s investors, and we believe it is the best way ahead for Twitter’s owners.”
Musk reiterated in the press release that “free speech” is critical to Twitter’s future, even though most of his suggestions for improving the social network, such as adding new products, combating spam, and opening up its algorithms, were already in the works before his dramatic intervention.
“Free speech is the foundation of a functional democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where important issues affecting humanity’s future are argued,” Musk stated. Twitter has enormous potential, and I am excited to work with the company and the Twitter community to realise it.”
Musk’s comment is not clear on what he means by “authenticating all humans” – is he referring to the continuing effort to cleanse the platform of spamming bots or a new, stronger position on non-human automated accounts? If the latter is true, Twitter’s taste as a social site that has long been home to helpful and occasionally fun bot accounts will undoubtedly shift.
The transaction, which was unanimously authorised by the board, is expected to be finalised this year after shareholder and regulatory approvals, as well as “the fulfilment of other normal closing conditions,” according to Twitter. It is not finalised until those issues are fixed.
The announcement comes after deliberately placing overnight rumours that Twitter was considering the offer, contrary to prior pronouncements about the poison pill it would prefer Musk purchase it.
As a result, it will be interesting to observe what this means for Twitter as a company. It will also be interesting to monitor to see what Musk’s objectives or intentions are. Buying media properties by billionaires is not exactly new — we would say it is just the next (large) step in a trend that encompasses yachts and other famous assets.
Musk, on the other hand, has been a long-time Twitter power user, so this is likely to be more than a vanity move for investors or a strictly financial one for him. He is a thinker. Even if you dislike him, you must agree he is intelligent. He might be planning to grow Twitter into a more successful company. Or he may have already determined that Twitter is considerably more entertaining as an expensive toy and a means of stimulating other interests (which is, for all intents and purposes, the only thing we have proof of him using Twitter for so far).
Whatever it is, he will now have a mouthpiece that he can control if he has his way.