Tom Crischer and Matt O’Brien
Ilona Maska’s bid to buy Twitter is gaining momentum and could be announced on Monday, according to media reports on the latest stage of social media campaign talks with Tesla CEO, who offered more than $ 40 billion to privatize the platform and pledged to be more lenient when it comes comes to the speech of users.
Twitter and Musk spoke on Sunday and Monday, according to The New York Times, less than two weeks after the billionaire first revealed a 9 percent stake in the platform he uses to promote his interests, attack critics and opinions about social and economic issues. betrays its more than 83 million followers.
Last week, Musk said he had set aside $ 46.5 billion in funding to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company’s board to negotiate an agreement. Musk did not comment on the talks, but on Monday got into a stir about them on Twitter, where some users have promised to leave the platform if he takes power.
“I hope that even my worst critics will remain on Twitter, because that means freedom of speech,” he tweeted.
Musk called himself an “freedom of speech absolutist,” but is also known for blocking or insulting other Twitter users who doubt or disagree with him.
In recent weeks, he has voiced a number of proposed changes to the company, from easing content restrictions – such as rules that suspended former President Donald Trump’s account – to ridding the platform of fake and automated accounts and moving away from advertising. -income-based model.
The Twitter board has flexibility in thinking about Mask’s proposal not only in terms of finances, but also in terms of its business plan, as well as how it could affect users, advertisers and employees – some of whom may leave, said Kevin Kaiser. Professor of Finance at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“It’s very important for the board whether they think it’s in the best interest of the company,” Kaiser said. “It can come from many, many factors.”
Kaiser said the council could decide that Musk’s plan has “too many negative consequences”, but that would be difficult to do given how much Musk offers to pay.
Asked during a recent TED talk whether there are any restrictions on his notion of “freedom of speech,” Musk said Twitter or any forum is clearly bound by the laws of the country in which he operates. So obviously there are some restrictions on free speech in the US, and of course Twitter will have to follow those rules. ”
Other than that, however, he said he would be “very reluctant” to remove things and would generally be cautious with permanent bans.
It will not be perfect, Musk added, “but I think we want it to really have the perception and reality that speech is as free as possible.”
Initially, Twitter took an anti-absorption measure known as a poison pill that could make an absorption attempt overly expensive. But the council decided to negotiate after Musk updated his proposal last week to show he had secured funding, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that talks were under way.
Competitor Musk, who is bidding, may not step up any time soon, fearing the Byzantine task of moderating content on the platform, which Musk has promised to do less.
“The Twitter board was unable to find the white knight, and with details of the Mask watch funding, it essentially struck midnight for the council, so negotiations began on a deal,” said Dan Ives, who follows Twitter for Wedbush Securities.
The Times, citing people aware of the situation, whom it did not identify, said both sides were discussing details, including deadlines and fees, when the agreement was signed and then collapsed. People said that the situation is smooth and developing rapidly.
While the Twitter user base of more than 200 million remains much smaller than that of competitors such as Facebook and TikTok, the service is popular with celebrities, world leaders, journalists and intellectuals. Musk himself is a prolific Twitter with fans who rivals several pop stars in the ranks of the most popular accounts.
Shares of Twitter Inc. rose Monday by 5% to $ 51.50 per share. On April 14, Musk announced an offer to buy a social networking platform for $ 54.20 per share, or about $ 43 billion, but then did not say how he would fund the acquisition.
Last week, he said in documents filed with U.S. securities regulators that the money would come from Morgan Stanley and other banks, some of which are secured by his huge stake in Tesla.
Twitter does not comment.
According to Forbes, Musk is the richest man in the world with nearly $ 279 billion. But much of his money comes from shares in Tesla – which owns about 17 percent of the electric car company, according to FactSet, which is valued at more than $ 1 trillion – and SpaceX, its private space company. It is unclear how much money Mask has.
Musk began earning a fortune in 1999 when he sold Compaq Zip2, an online catalog of cartography and business, for $ 307 million. He used his share to create what would become PayPal, an online service that bypassed banks and allowed consumers to pay businesses directly. It was sold to eBay for $ 1.5 billion in 2002.
In the same year, Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, after discovering that cost constraints limit NASA’s interplanetary travel. Eventually the company developed cost-effective reusable missiles.
In 2004, Mask wanted to invest in Tesla, then a startup that was trying to build an electric car. He eventually became CEO and led the company to astronomical success as the world’s most valuable automaker and largest seller of electric vehicles.
Crisher reported from Detroit. This was announced by O’Brien from Providence, and from London – RI AP business writer Kelvin Chan.