“I made an offer,” Musk tweeted to his 81 million followers on Thursday.
Musk said he believes in the promise of Twitter to be a platform for free speech, but does not have confidence in its management to fulfill that mission, and thinks it needs to be “transformed” as a private company.
“Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it,” he said in the filing.
“My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” Musk continued. He holds more than 9% of Twitter’s shares, and some analysts expect if he were to sell his stake, that could trigger a sharp sell-off.
Twitter confirmed it received the “unsolicited” offer from Musk.
In a statement, the company 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.”
Musk’s offer of $54.20 per share is 38% more than the value of Twitter stock the day before his investment was publicly announced and 18.2% higher than Wednesday’s closing price. Twitter stock was up les than 1% early Thursday afternoon, suggesting investors may be skeptical of Musk’s bid.
Analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities wrote in a note to clients that he expects Musk will succeed.
“It would be hard for any other bidders/consortium to emerge and the Twitter board will be forced likely to accept this bid and/or run an active process to sell Twitter,” Ives said.
But, he noted, there are unanswered questions, including how Musk would balance his time given that he is already CEO of two other companies, Tesla and SpaceX.
It’s also unclear how Musk will finance his cash offer. Most of his $266 billion net worth is held in Tesla shares. Selling part of his stake could affect Tesla’s valuation.
The takeover bid is the latest twist in a wild two weeks for the billionaire and the social media platform.
On April 4, Musk disclosed he’d been buying up Twitter shares and had become its largest investor. (Earlier this week, a Twitter shareholder filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Musk, alleging his late disclosure of his stake cost investors money and saved Musk around $143 million.)
The Tesla CEO is both a prolific user of Twitter and a vocal critic, so his investment immediately sparked questions about his intentions. In the weeks before his stake became public, he had publicly questioned Twitter’s commitment to free speech and mused about creating his own rival social network.
The next day, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Musk would join the company’s board — and had agreed to limit how much more Twitter stock he could buy. Both men said they looked forward to working together on the company’s future.
But those plans quickly fell apart. Over the weekend, Musk notified Twitter he would not join the board after all, a decision that Agrawal described as “for the best.”
Before his about-face became public on Sunday night, Musk had spent much of the weekend tweeting suggestions, criticisms and jokes about Twitter. “Is Twitter dying?” he asked in one tweet, noting that many of its most-followed users, such as Barack Obama and Katy Perry, rarely tweet.
He also said the company should shift away from its ad-supported business model, suggested it turn its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter, and polled his followers about removing the “w” from Twitter’s name. He later deleted many of those tweets.
While it’s not clear why Musk changed his mind about joining the board, in his filing on Thursday, he doubled down on his vision of Twitter’s role in society — and what is needed to realize it.
“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 wrote in a letter to Twitter chairman Bret Taylor. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”
He told Taylor he was “not playing the back-and-forth game,” according to the filing. “I have moved straight to the end.”