Elon Musk has offered to buy Twitter outright with a $41 billion cash offer on Thursday. Musk says Twitter needs to be taken private in order to become a platform for free speech.
“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 a letter sent to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor.
I made an offer https://t.co/VvreuPMeLu
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2022
Shares in Twitter surged 12% in premarket trading.
“Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it,” Musk said in a letter to Twitter’s board on Wednesday, which was made public in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
Musk’s offer price of $54.20 per share represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s April 1 close, the last trading day before the Tesla chief executive’s stake of more than 9% in the social media platform was made public.
“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 in his letter to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor.
Musk, who calls himself a free-speech absolutist, has been critical of the social media platform and its policies, and recently ran a poll on Twitter asking users if they believed it adheres to the principle of free speech.
Based on Twitter’s Wednesday closing price of $45.85, its price in pre-market trading in New York implied a 35% chance of the company accepting Musk’s offer.
“The big question for the Twitter board now is whether to accept a very generous offer for a business that has been a serial underperformer and tends to treat its users with indifference,” Michael Hewson, Chief Market analyst at CMC Markets, said after the announcement of Musk’s offer.
“It would be hard for any other bidders/consortium to emerge and the Twitter board will be forced likely to accept this bid and/or run an active process to sell Twitter,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a client note.
Here is the letter Musk sent to Twitter as disclosed in the SEC filing:
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.
However, 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.
As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% 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.
Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.
– Elon Musk
MacDailyNews Take: Broken long ago, Twitter is a slanted, myopic joke as it is currently run.
Hopefully Musk will be an agent of change for a platform that should, at this point, be considered a public utility that allows for all viewpoints to be openly discussed.
Elon Musk is a doer.
The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker and doer in one person. – Steve Jobs
Art and music, design and performance, opinion, fiction, provocation, are what we work to enable. That fills us with such a sense of pride as well as a deep sense of responsibility because we know that these freedoms require protection; not just the forms of speech that entertain us, but the ones that challenge us, the ones that unnerve and even displease us. They’re the ones that need protection the most. Unpopular speech, unpopular art, and unpopular ideas; speech that questions the people in power.
It’s no accident that these freedoms are enshrined and protected in the First Amendment. They’re the foundation of so many of our rights. We means we all have a stake, and a role, in defending them. This is a responsibility that Apple takes very seriously… We work to defend these freedoms enabling people around the world to speak up. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, accepting the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award on April 18, 2017
The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away. Please, I beg you, open your senses to the will of the people to keep the Internet as free as possible… I don’t want to feel that whichever content supplier had the best government connections or paid the most money determined what I can watch and for how much. This is the monopolistic approach and not representative of a truly free market in the case of today’s Internet. – Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for The Atlantic, December 21, 2010
A few more quotes:
• Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. ― Benjamin Franklin
• To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy. ― Aung San Suu Kyi
• Because if you don’t stand up for the stuff you don’t like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you’ve already lost. ― Neil Gaiman
• Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. – Potter Stewart
• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. ― United Nations
• If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ― George Washington
Please help support MacDailyNews. Click or tap here to support our independent tech blog. Thank you!