Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, saying the social media platform needs to be transformed. In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Twitter Inc. said that Musk, who is currently the company’s biggest individual shareholder, has proposed buying the remaining shares of Twitter that he does not already own at $54.20 per share, an offer worth over $43 billion.
“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,” South African-born Musk wrote in an email to Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chairman of the board. The email was reproduced in the SEC filing on Thursday. “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.”
He added that “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”
Musk said the cash offer was his “best and final offer,” adding that if his offer was not accepted, he would need to reconsider his position as a shareholder. On April 4, Twitter disclosed that Musk had acquired a significant stake in the social network. He purchased a 9.2% share of the company, making him Twitter’s largest shareholder.
The following day, Twitter announced that Musk would be joining the board of directors. As a board member, he would not be allowed to own more than 14.9% of the company. But Twitter later announced that Musk has told the company that he would not join the board.
Twitter on Thursday issued a statement confirming that it had received the billionaire’s offer. It said its board “will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stockholders.”
Analysts say that Twitter will either be compelled to accept Musk’s bid or look for another buyer. “There will be host of questions around financing, regulatory, balancing Musk’s time (Tesla, SpaceX) in the coming days but based on this filing it is a now or never bid for Twitter to accept,” Dan Ives, senior equity research analyst at Wedbush Securities, was quoted by BBC. “Ultimately, we believe this soap opera will end with Musk owning Twitter.”
Musk is the world’s richest man, according to Forbes. He has a net worth of $219 billion largely due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla and his leading position at aerospace firm SpaceX.
The techpreneur had earlier criticized Twitter for not living up to free speech principles. He has more than 81 million Twitter followers, making him one of the most popular figures on the platform.