Elon Musk made news this morning when it was announced he had put in a $43 billion bid to purchase Twitter outright, 10 days after becoming the company’s largest shareholder. On April 4, Musk reportedly purchased 9.2% of the company and is now looking to acquire the company wholesale with the expressed intent to take the social media platform private. The multi-billion dollar offer from Musk would value Twitter at $54.20 per share, a 54% markup from its current reported value.
“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,” Musk said in a letter to Twitter chairman Bret Taylor on April 13. “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.”
The process from here on out will include the company’s board of directors reviewing the offer and announcing its decision on whether to sell to the Tesla CEO or not. According to the New York Times, the board can deny the bid if it finds the offer to be unsatisfactory. The offer from Musk was in his words, a “best and final offer” for the company.
Musk wrote in his filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that he did not have confidence in the management of the company as it currently stands, and that the changes he had wanted to make after his initial purchase could not be made while the company was still publicly available for purchase on the market.
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Twitter’s reactions to the potential sale
Many on Twitter are not fans of Musk, citing numerous concerns from the potential purchase of the social media platform. One area of criticism comes from billionaire’s intent on how free speech will be handled moving forward, should the bid be accepted.
Musk has reportedly blocked some users over criticism of his handling of worker issues at Tesla, as well as a college student who developed a way to track the location of Musk’s private plane. The Space-X CEO reportedly tried to pay off the student before blocking him on the platform altogether.
When I criticized Musk for worker violations at Tesla, he blocked me.
When a college student started a Twitter account to track Musk’s private plane, Musk tried to buy him off, before blocking him.
Does that sound like a "free speech absolutist" to you? https://t.co/5BU3sGv7oq
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) April 12, 2022
Another factor of concern for Twitter’s users is the possible implementation of a subscription-based payment system, taking the site out of its current free state and turning free users into customers.
Whatever happens, I am never going to leave this app unless our new Landlord kicks me out. If they want to make it subscription based I will pay because Twitter remains the best social media platform for engagements, news and general awareness; bar the baby thugs & bitter trolls.
— Dr. Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) April 14, 2022
Others have pointed to instances of Twitter deplatforming users that were considered to be dangerous in the past, such as former president Donald Trump, as the site already having limited the free speech of its users.
Go @elonmusk GO!!! https://t.co/TuYg5HIkjW
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) April 14, 2022
Elon Musk @elonmusk is fighting the idea that no one should be allowed to have an opinion unless it’s the shared opinion of left-wing orthodoxy. He is not trying to ensure that HIS opinions are out there but that EVERYONE IS HEARD. https://t.co/28Fn9R1G45
— Dagen McDowell (@dagenmcdowell) April 14, 2022