Twitter board still evaluating Elon Musk's offer, chief executive says

Company says it is involved in 'rigorous process' to determine what is best for shareholders

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal told employees that the board is still evaluating the offer tabled by the world's richest man, Elon Musk, to buy the company and take it private.

Employees raised questions about potential scenarios at a staff meeting on Thursday afternoon, and Mr Agrawal’s tone was neutral, said sources.

He did not indicate which direction the board was leaning, calling it a “rigorous process” to determine what is in the best interest of shareholders, the sources said.

Chief marketing officer Leslie Berland read Twitter employees’ questions submitted via Slack at the meeting.

No other board members, including co-founder and former chief executive Jack Dorsey, addressed the group. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes, they said.

Twitter declined to comment. The company’s board held an emergency meeting on Thursday morning to debate possible responses to Mr Musk’s offer — including a poison pill, a measure companies typically use to protect themselves from hostile takeovers.

Mr Musk, the billionaire co-founder and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, offered to buy 100 per cent of Twitter for about $43bn, according to a regulatory filing.

Twitter could announce the poison pill as soon as tomorrow, sources said. Another scenario under consideration is saying that the offer is too low, according to one person.

A poison pill defense strategy allows existing shareholders the right to purchase additional shares at a discount, effectively diluting the ownership interest of the hostile party. Poison pills are common among companies under fire from activist investors or in hostile takeover situations.

At least one prominent investor, though, said Mr Musk's offer was too low and the market reaction appeared to agree. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said the deal doesn’t “come close to the intrinsic value” of the popular social media platform.

Speaking later Thursday at a TED conference, Mr Musk said he wasn’t sure he “will actually be able to acquire it”. He added that his intent was to also retain “as many shareholders as is allowed by the law”, rather than keeping sole ownership of the company himself.

Updated: April 15, 2022, 8:39 AM
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