Multi-billionaire Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, of which he is already the largest shareholder, for 41.39 billion dollars (37.9 billion euros), as shown in a document sent to the policeman of the American Stock Exchange on Wednesday and revealed on Thursday April 14. After this announcement, the social network announced that it was going “examine carefully” Elon Musk’s offer.
Mr. Musk says he is ready to pay 54.20 dollars per Twitter share (49.70 euros). This represents a “premium”, that is to say a bonus, of 21% compared to the opening price of the title on Thursday and 54% compared to that of January 28, the date on which Mr. Musk started investing in Twitter.
The billionaire entered the capital of the social network to the tune of 9.2%, as shown by documents published on April 4 by the regulator of the American stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Twitter then offered him to join the board of directors, which he refused.
Musk will reconsider his presence in the capital in the event of failure
The CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla and founder of the aerospace group SpaceX assures that this award constitutes “his best offer” and that it will not be modified, adding that in case of failure he will reconsider his presence in the capital.
In a letter to the board, Musk says he believes Twitter “will not prosper nor fulfill its societal mission [de liberté d’expression] in its current form”. The company must, according to him, “to be transformed into a private company”i.e. not listed on the stock exchange.
In his letter, Mr. Musk further assures:
“Twitter has enormous potential. I will make it happen. »
To explain his surprise takeover and rather hostile approach to the current management of the social network, the boss of Tesla ensures not to “play the classic back and forth game”preferring “go straight to the point”. Twitter shares gained 13.6% in pre-market trading after the announcement of its proposal.
Elon Musk’s offensive has already had several episodes: in early April, the market learned that the investor had become the largest shareholder in the social network, with just over 9% of the company’s capital. This entry into the capital had triggered a series of twists and turns around the role he intended to play in the company – approached for a seat on the board of directors, he had finally announced that he would refuse it. It was probably a strategy to have freer hands, legally.
He is also being sued by some shareholders, who accuse him of having concealed his action, by not declaring his first investments in Twitter, in order to be able to acquire more shares at a preferential price.
“We believe that by the end of this episode series Elon Musk will have taken ownership of Twitter after its aggressive and hostile takeover, said financial analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. It would be difficult for other investors to take a stand, and Twitter executives are likely to be forced to accept this offer and start the sale process. » Mr. Ives believes that it is “now or never” to hand over the social network to the board. However, the analyst expects that the change of control will raise a few questions, in particular about “Mr. Musk’s time split between Tesla and SpaceX”.
An overtly political takeover attempt
This takeover attempt is, for Mr. Musk, overtly political. He enjoys, in his operation, the support of a large part of the Republican political class, very upset against the closure of Donald Trump’s account on the social network after the attack on the Capitol, January 6, 2021. The star presenter of Fox News, Tucker Carlson, described this April 13 Mr. Musk as “our last hope”.
Assumed libertarian, Elon Musk has claimed, for years, a very extensive conception of freedom of expression, and thinks that any form of “censorship” is dangerous. American conservatives, who view social media as “biased” in favor of progressive ideas, appreciate this position of principle – Mr. Musk does not hesitate, however, to employ various questionable means to silence his critics.
In fiscal year 2021, the company’s turnover amounted to 5 billion dollars, up 37% compared to 2020. But the company continues to lose money: 221 million in 2021. Twitter currently has 217 million daily active users and aims to increase that number to 315 million by the start of 2024.