Genius, inventor, automotive mogul, flamethrower guy, social media platform owner?
Thanks to social media, news travels fast these days, especially when it's news about a controversial billionaire buying a massive social platform. That's the story today, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk filed a letter to Twitter's board with an offer to buy the entire company for $43 billion.
Elon Musk and Twitter have been linked in the news hundreds of times over the years, as the outspoken CEO frequently takes to the platform to share updates on his companies. However, Musk's financial saga with the company - or at least what the public knows of it - began just a few weeks ago.
Earlier this month, Musk disclosed his position in Twitter, revealing him to be the company's largest shareholder. The social media giant's board offered him a seat, but news came out that Musk declined the invitation shortly after. If accepted, his involvement with the Twitter board would have limited his ability to invest in the company to a maximum of 14.9 percent of shares.
Musk's decision opened the door for his offer to buy 100 percent of the company at $54.20 per share - note the "420" reference to his desire to take Tesla private in 2018 for $420 per share. In his letter to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor, Elon stated, "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 noted that he would "need to reconsider my position as a shareholder" if his offer was declined. Twitter's board said it would carefully consider the offer, but some analysts believe the per-share offer is too low.
Current estimates place Musk's worth at around $260 billion, so the $43 billion offer is well within his means. The market's reactions are mixed, with Twitter up on the news and Tesla down in pre-market trading. Some investors expressed nervousness that adding another company to a stable that already includes Tesla, SpaceX, and others, could spread Musk's attention thin and cause problems. Tesla itself just opened a new Texas manufacturing facility and has rapid expansion plans in the coming years.
It's unclear what Musk intends to do with Twitter, should his offer be approved. Some expect sweeping changes to the company's policies on speech and content. The Tesla CEO's tweets are frequently in the news, and he has repeatedly bemoaned limitations on "free speech," raising concerns he could reinstate former President Trump after his ban in 2021. Whatever his intentions, the only thing we can do now is wait on Twitter's decision.