You don’t even need 280 characters to deliver this new capital: Elon Musk just bought Twitter.
The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder has been circling the popular social media platform for weeks, using Twitter itself as a medium to announce both his intentions and his lingering frustrations with the platform in its shape. current.
Now, after lining up the funds (his own backing and that of Morgan Stanley), Musk will pay $43.4 billion — about $54.20 a share — in a takeover bid that gives him the control of society. The deal is now subject to regulatory approval.
With Twitter’s earnings report just days away, it’s likely the new owner will show up on the company’s first-quarter earnings call — at least just to say “hi,” and wisely decline. answer most analysts’ questions directly.
In a statement on the acquisition, Musk said, “Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by improving the product with new features, making algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spambots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has huge potential – I can’t wait to work with the company and the user community to unlock it.”
I hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter, because that’s what free speech means.April 25, 2022
Bret Taylor, Chairman of Twitter’s Independent Board of Directors, noted in the statement that “the proposed transaction will provide a substantial cash bonus, and we believe it is the best way forward for Twitter shareholders.”
Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter and the person who may end up working most closely with Musk, said in the statement, “Twitter has purpose and relevance that impacts the world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired through work that has never been more important.” In particular, he did not directly refer to Musk.
Musk’s triumph comes after a circuitous path to ownership: He first bought nearly 10% of Twitter shares, giving him a seat at the table and inviting him to the board. Musk agreed, then just as quickly backed off. But he hadn’t finished. Soon he was offering $43 billion for the company, prompting Twitter’s board to adopt a poison pill plan that would have sold cheaper stock to shareholders if Musk had sought to buy more than 15% of the stock. company shares.
Soon after, Musk, who has been on the platform since 2009, walked back on a takeover bid, which meant he had to raise all the money to buy the company. Since last week, Musk has secured the funds, and over the weekend Musk’s leadership team and Twitter met in person to work out the details.
A bumpy road
Not everyone is thrilled at the prospect of a Musk-owned Twitter. Looking ahead to the announcement, #RIPTwitter was trending on the platform.
As for what’s next, Musk has made clear his intentions to ensure that Twitter supports free speech on all sides (the implication being that it currently does not, although he does). there is no supporting empirical evidence).
It could revise some user bans, including that of former President Trump.
It will probably open the Twitter code.
A fan of blockchain and NFT, Musk could push the platform more aggressively into the crypto space.
But investors and backers will be more interested in Musk’s growth plan. Twitter has done a decent job of generating more revenue from existing users, but its growth in recent years has been relatively slow and flat. It’s not clear that Twitter can ever have the large-scale global appeal of, say, Facebook (which has its own growing pains) or TikTok.
It’s unclear what Musk can do to reinvigorate some of Twitter’s Biggest Celebrity Accounts.
Musk will likely accelerate the Tweet Edits feature already in development, as he made that clear during the acquisition effort. that he is a fan.
What will Elon do?
What happens next is up to Elon Musk, or rather, Elon Musk showing up to run Twitter. Will it be the bright, sure hand that, through SpaceX, routinely transports astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station? The man who created the electric vehicle market with Tesla?
It could also be the man who impulsively tweets his inner identity and EGO. who’s kidding “The next Twitter board meeting is going to be lit,” with a photo of him smoking a joint on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
There sometimes seems to be little middle ground for Musk, who is both hugely successful and wealthy and hugely impulsive and emotional.
The fear that Musk will let back the worst element on Twitter – Nazis, trolls, anti-vaxxers, Donald Trump, etc. – is real. A free speech absolutist might demand that ALL voices be heard, even the most dangerous ones.
Still, Musk doesn’t really know the inner workings of Twitter’s extensive (and still flawed) content moderation system. He will soon. It can inspire different, more rational thinking about how to excite and energize Twitter for the future while protecting the most vulnerable who still use it every day.