Yesterday, some Twitter shareholders declared war on Elon Musk by taking him to court. But the richest man in the world rejects the conflict. Instead, he draws his most powerful weapon: money. His goal: to conquer Twitter once and for all. His suggestion: Buy all the shares in the social network for $54.20 per share, for a total of $43.4 billion (39.77 billion euros). A bid that is 6.7 billion more than Twitter’s current capitalization. “This is my best offer and my last offer” he proclaims in the official document he sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday, April 14.
Elon Musk drops the mask
At the same time, Elon Musk wants to delist Twitter from the stock exchange. If current management refuses, the all-powerful boss of Tesla and Space X warns that he “will reconsider its position as a shareholder“.
In premarket electronic trading, the stock is up 12.24% to $51.5. Since Monday, April 4, when Elon Musk revealed that he had bought 9.2% of the social network’s shares, the value of the deal on Wednesday, April 13 has increased by 17% from $39.31 to $45 $.85 off.
What will Twitter management and shareholders do if Elon Musk wants to convince them of the value he offers them? In a statement, Twitter said it had “the unsolicited and non-binding offer‘ by Elon Musk, stating that he ‘would go for itexamine carefully“, to the “determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the company and all Twitter shareholders“
With this offer, Elon Musk finally refuses to play the activist shareholder, preferring to directly drop the mask by claiming absolute control of Twitter.
For years, the billionaire has criticized the moderation policy of the social network, of which he is also one of the most followed users in the world with 81 million “followers” and also one of the most active. Buying Twitter would thus allow him to shape this world-renowned platform, which claims 212 million monetizable users per day and which he says interferes with freedom of expression, which is also a mantra of Donald Trump’s supporters in the United States.
Ten surreal days
Elon Musk’s blitzkrieg on Twitter only started ten days ago. On Monday, April 4, Elon Musk announced, to everyone’s surprise, that he had acquired 9.2% of the social network’s equity for nearly $2.9 billion, effectively becoming its largest shareholder. In his letter to the SEC, he clarified that he has no intention of becoming an activist shareholder. But there’s no denying that since January, the quirky entrepreneur, who corresponds to the purchase of his first Twitter shares, has multiplied criticism of the social network, accusing it of silencing freedom of expression and openly declaring its leadership Parag Agrawal criticizes the CEO since last November and the departure of its founder and emblematic CEO Jack Dorsey.
The gallery then wondered:Despite struggling to grow, would Elon Musk invest in a well-known social network and thereby “influence” the direction of an established company and platform rather than create one from scratch?”
Elon Musk was not long in coming to confirm his interventionist will. That same evening, he launched his first offensive: a survey to find out whether users want to edit their tweets afterwards. harmless? Not really. Because it’s an old and popular wish among Twitter users who want to correct their mistakes when they’re writing in a hurry. Jack Dorsey’s previous management was strongly opposed because of the potential abuse related to online harassment or misinformation. The founder had declared in 2020 that the button “to edit” wouldn’t see “probably never” the day.
The board trap
On Tuesday, April 5, one day after the announcement of Elon Musk’s capital increase, Twitter offered its new first shareholder – whom the financial market police officer also accused of possible price manipulation because of statements on the social network – a seat on the company’s supervisory board.
This was announced by CEO Parag Agrawal in a tweet: “I am very pleased to announce that we are appointing Elon Musk to the board! Through discussions with Elon over the past few weeks, it was clear that he would bring great value to our board.” he explained. Elon Musk publicly replied: “I look forward to working with Parag and the Twitter Board to drive major improvements for Twitter over the coming months!”
But was it a win for Elon Musk and a bid for Parag Agrawal, or was it a poisoned gift aimed at curbing the new first shareholder’s aggressiveness? Because by taking on a supervisory board position until 2024, Elon Musk prevented the rise to more than 14.9% of the company’s capital. He certainly could have tried to influence the company’s strategy through the board – and his clout is real thanks to his 80 million followers – but the majority of him would have had to approve his motions anyway.
A weekend of provocative messages
For a few days, Elon Musk appeared to choose the option of pressuring the board of directors by massively “trolling” the social network. On Thursday, he posted a “meme” featuring a famous photo in which we see him holding a joint in a smoke halo, with the caption: “IThe next Twitter board will crack“. He also agreed to meet with Twitter employees for a question-and-answer session as if he were the new head of the company.
On Saturday he went even further into the pressure. “Is Twitter dying?he asked, clarifying his point by the fact that most of the social network’s “super accounts” — the ones with the most subscribers like Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga… — rarely post content.
Even more “troll,” Elon Musk posted two more tweets over the weekend that must have stuck in Parag Agrawal’s throat. The first was a survey, with the options “yes” or “of course” to the question “Should the “w” be removed from Twitter?“. In the second he suggested “Converting Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a shelter for the homeless“, there “no one goes there anyway” [sic].
And finally, Elon Musk has—yet again—changed his mind. On Monday, April 11, he declined his seat on the board. And not in the most elegant of ways, according to a statement from CEO Parag Agrawal, the richest man in the world forbes simply faced the leaders when he had publicly indicated that he would be seated.
“Elon’s appointment to the board was due to take effect on April 9th, but Elon informed us the same day that he would not be joining.‘ Agrawal wrote, before adding: “Elon is our largest shareholder and we remain open to his ideas“. An hour after the CEO’s message, the client concerned was content to respond by posting the emoji. “giggle“…without further comment.
On Tuesday, April 12, some shareholders dared to declare war on him by filing a complaint with the Financial Markets Authority. Their complaint: They accused Elon Musk of having declared to the SEC that he had exceeded the 5% threshold 10 days late, of causing financial damage to shareholders who sold their shares during this time and of giving Musk another rise by exploiting the capital to capital allow lower value of the stock. There’s no doubt that this proposal to buy Twitter should allow those shareholders to bounce back when they take pole.