Elon Musk launches R630-billion Twitter hostile takeover

Elon Musk has made a “best and final” offer to buy Twitter Inc., saying the company has extraordinary potential and he will unlock it.

The world’s richest person will offer $54.20 per share in cash, representing a 54% premium over the Jan. 28 closing price and a value of about $43 billion (R630 billion). The social media company’s shares soared 18%.

Musk, 50, announced the offer in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The billionaire, who also controls Tesla Inc., first disclosed a stake of about 9% on April 4. Tesla shares fell about 1.5% in pre-market trading on the news.

The executive is one of Twitter’s most-watched firebrands, often tweeting out memes and taunts to @elonmusk’s more than 80 million followers.

He has been outspoken about changes he’d like to consider imposing at the social media platform, and the company offered him a seat on the board following the announcement of his stake, which made him the largest individual shareholder.

After his initial stake became public, Musk immediately began appealing to fellow users about prospective moves, from turning Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter and adding an edit button for tweets to granting automatic verification marks to premium users.

One tweet suggested Twitter might be dying, given that several celebrities with high numbers of followers rarely tweet.

Musk can afford a takeover of Twitter. He’s currently worth about $260 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, compared with Twitter’s market valuation of about $37 billion.

In a letter to Twitter’s board, Musk said he believes Twitter “will neither thrive nor serve [its free speech] societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company”

The takeover is unlikely to be a drawn-out process.

“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” said Musk.

The $54.20 per share offer is “too low” for shareholders or the board to accept, said Vital Knowledge’s Adam Crisafulli said in a report, adding that the company’s shares hit $70 less than a year ago.

Musk has hired Morgan Stanley as his adviser for the takeover.

The offer price also includes the number 420, widely recognized as a coded reference to marijuana. He also picked $420 as the share price for possibly taking Tesla private in 2018, a move that brought him scrutiny from the SEC.

Now read: Elon Musk sued for allegedly disclosing Twitter stake late

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Elon Musk launches R630-billion Twitter hostile takeover