April 14, 2022 Tom Ozimek
Elon Musk has made an offer to buy “100 percent of Twitter” for around $43 billion, according to a regulatory filing, with the tech mogul saying he wants to actualize the company’s “extraordinary potential” to become a true platform for free speech.
Musk offered to buy out Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, according to a letter addressed to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor, attached as an exhibit to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 14 (pdf).
“Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it,” Musk wrote.
The move amounts to an offer to transform Twitter into a private company, effectively giving Musk control of how it’s run.
‘I Believe In Its Potential’
Musk has in the past questioned Twitter’s commitment to free speech and recently bought nearly 10 percent of the company, sparking speculation whether he has plans to shake up the company’s moderation policies, which have been accused of anti-conservative bias.
Twitter has repeatedly denied claims of censoring some minority and politically conservative viewpoints.
“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,” Musk wrote in the letter.
After Musk’s purchase of a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter made him its biggest individual shareholder, he was offered a seat on the company’s board of directors, which he initially appeared to accept but later turned down.
Declining the board seat fueled speculation whether Musk had plans to launch a hostile takeover of Twitter. An SEC filing noted that Musk had no “present plans or intentions” to buy more Twitter shares, but “reserves the right to change his plans at any time.”
‘Free Speech Is Essential’
Musk has repeatedly called Twitter’s commitment to free speech into question.
Posting on Twitter to his 80 million-plus followers on March 25, Musk wrote that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and asked his followers whether they believe Twitter “rigorously adheres” to this principle.
Over 2 million Twitter users weighed in, with 70.4 percent voting “no.”
Earlier news of Musk’s greater involvement in Twitter, including his potential ascension to board member, was met with calls from conservatives for him to chart a new course at the company.
Monica Crowley, former assistant secretary of the Treasury under Trump, said in a tweet, “Now that Elon Musk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, he should demand the end of political censorship, company-wide reform, and the reinstatement of President [Donald] Trump.”
Twitter banned the former president from the platform following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, claiming his posts violated a glorification of violence policy.
‘Needs To Be Transformed’
Musk’s letter to Taylor makes it clear he’s looking to press some kind of a free speech shakeup at Twitter.
“Since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company,” Musk said, referring to the “societal imperative” of free speech.
He said he was offering to buy “100 percent of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54 [percent] premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38 [percent] premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced.”
“My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” he added.
At the time of reporting, Twitter shares were up nearly 7 percent in pre-market trading.
The Epoch Times reached out to Twitter for comment on Musk’s buyout bid. The company responded with a statement saying that it had received Musk’s “unsolicited, non-binding” proposal, adding that it would “carefully review” it and take decisions that it believes are in the best interest of the company and stockholders.