From Tesla to SolarCity to SpaceX, the scent of musk seems pervasive in the world of high-tech these days. Now it’s wafting into the lucrative world of social media.
The Twitterverse was all twittery today with the news that mega-kajillionaire Elon Musk had apparently secured $46.5 billion in financing in his aim to take over the social-media giant. According to his filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Musk claimed commitments from Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Bank of America, Société Général, and a host of others in the mogulsphere.
Musk is already the largest single shareholder in the company, owning slightly more than nine percent of its stock, and also has more than 82 million followers on Twitter. He’d agreed to join the board and limit his piece of the pie to just under 15 percent, but then changed his mind and is now attempting the hostile takeover.
Explaining the reasons for his move, Musk has said he wants to see Twitter adopt more of a “free speech” culture, referring to the social-media giant as “the de facto public town square.” As he tweeted earlier this week: “A social media platform’s policies are good if the most extreme 10% on left and right are equally unhappy,”
The filing came a week after Musk’s hostile takeover proposal in which he’d offered to buy Twitter’s common stock for $43 billion. According to the filing, Musk is exploring the possibility of making a tender offer to buy shares (at $54.20 apiece) from individual stockholders. The move was met by a “poison pill” from Twitter’s board, aimed at preventing such a hostile takeover. Some analysts think the poison pill move will make it more difficult for Musk to achieve his aims without some concessions.
A spokesperson for Twitter was quoted as saying that “the board is committed to conducting a careful, comprehensive and deliberate review to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stockholders.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Twitter’s stock had risen about twenty percent since Musk’s proposals.