“I made an offer,” Tesla’s billionaire CEO tweeted Thursday morning.
The attached filing, dated Wednesday, lays out a plan for Musk to buy the remaining shares of Twitter he does not already own for $54.50 a share — or for about $43 billion in total — and make the company private. Musk wrote that this is his “final offer,” and that if it’s not accepted he “would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.” Musk acquired 9.2 percent of Twitter this year and is currently its largest shareholder. The play to take control comes days after the company announced Musk would not join its board of directors despite telling employees earlier this month that he was.
“Is Twitter dying?” Musk asked in a post on Saturday, seemingly in response to the back-and-forth. He made clear in the filing on Wednesday that he thinks it is, and that he intends to revive it.
“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,” he writes. “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.”
Twitter has taken great pains to rid the platform of hate speech and misinformation, most notably through its ban of Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Musk seems to want to open the floodgates and turn Twitter into more of a cesspool of racism, bigotry, and conspiracy theories than it already is. Musk himself has a history of controversial posts. He’s been accused of stock manipulation by tweeting about Tesla’s stock price, most notably by tweeting in 2018 that he was going to take Tesla private at $420, and that he had “funding secured.”
Some have suggested that his SEC filing may, too, be nothing more than an attempt to game the system.
“My conclusion, @elonmusk is fucking with the SEC,” Mark Cuban tweeted. “His filing w/the SEC allows him to say he wants to take a company private for $54.20 Vs his ‘Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured’ Price go up. His shares get sold. Profit [goes up] SEC like WTF just happened.”
Cuban’s “conclusion” makes sense considering Musk has already made clear that he doesn’t think too highly of the SEC. “I do not respect the SEC,” he told 60 Minutes in 2018. “I do not respect them.”
Musk also has a rich history of trolling on the platform. His tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 was clearly a play on the weed-smoking holiday. Last week, he tweeted that “69.420% of statistics are false.”