Elon Musk offers to buy 100% of Twitter for roughly $43bn

The billionaire already owns more than 9 per cent of the microblogging platform

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Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder and chief executive of electric vehicle maker Tesla, has offered to buy 100 per cent of Twitter for roughly $43 billion, a regulatory filing on Thursday showed.

His offer price of $54.20 per share represents a 38 per cent premium on the closing price of Twitter's stock on April 1, the last trading day before his investment of 9.2 per cent in the company was publicly announced.

Twitter's stock price closed up 3.08 per cent at $45.85 per share on Wednesday. Mr Musk's offer represents a roughly 17 per cent increase on its market capitalisation of about $36.7bn as of Wednesday.

Its shares were trading at $45.58 at 10.30pm UAE time on Thursday.

"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," Mr Musk, chief executive of Tesla, said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"However, since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company," he said.

"My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.

"Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it," he said.

As Twitter's single largest shareholder following his acquisition of about 73.5 million shares of the social media giant valued at about $3bn, Mr Musk was offered a seat on its board, but he declined the offer earlier this week.

Mr Musk may have decided not to join Twitter's board as he would be limited to owning no more than 14.9 per cent of the company as per an SEC filing last week.

Twitter's board of directors will "carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stockholders", the social media company said in a brief statement on Thursday.

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns a stake in Twitter through his Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), rejected Mr Musk’s offer on Thursday.

“I don't believe that the proposed offer by Elon Musk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of Twitter given its growth prospects,” Prince Alwaleed said on Twitter.

“Being one of the largest and long-term shareholders of Twitter, Kingdom Holding Company and I reject this offer,” he added.

Calling Thursday's bid a "hostile takeover offer", Neil Campling, co-head of Mirabaud Securities' Global Thematic Group, said it is "going to cost a serious amount of cash and time".

"Mr Musk will have to sell a decent piece of Tesla stock to fund it, or [take] a massive loan against it,” he told The National.

“After all, Twitter has become a sprawling mess of a platform with no clearly defined USP [unique selling proposition], means of monetisation, strategy nor scale.”

Mr Musk has been vocally critical of Twitter’s moderation policies in recent weeks and how it is essential for a functioning democracy.

“One thing is for sure … Mr Musk will likely be even freer with his own speech through the platform,” Mr Campling said.

Speaking during an interview at the TED event in Vancouver on Thursday, Mr Musk said the offer was intended to create “an inclusive arena for free speech".

"Having a public platform that is massively trusted, and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization" he said.

He also expressed uncertainty about going through with the deal.

“I am not sure that I will actually be able to acquire it,” Mr Musk, adding that he has a Plan B if Twitter rejects his offer, without offering elaborating further.

When asked if he had funding for the deal, he said: "I have sufficient assets. I can do it if possible."

Mr Musk topped the Forbes 2022 World Billionaires List for the first time last week with a net worth of $219bn. In contrast, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index named Mr Musk the world’s richest person at the end of 2021 with a personal fortune of $273.5bn.

The billionaire added $68bn to his net worth over the past year after a 33 per cent jump in the share price of his electric vehicle maker, Tesla, Forbes said.

Updated: April 14, 2022, 6:34 PM
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