Tesla chief Elon Musk has launched a hostile takeover bid for Twitter, offering to buy 100 percent of its stock and take it private, according to a stock exchange filing.
Musk’s latest move towards Twitter comes just days after he turned down a seat on the board following his acquisition of a 9.2 percent stake in the microblogging platform.
“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 his filing.
“However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form,” he said.
“Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company. As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter.”
Musk, Twitter’s biggest shareholder, said his “offer is my best and final offer” and he would reconsider his position as a shareholder if it was rejected.
“Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it,” he said.
Currently the world’s richest man and with more than 80 million followers on the microblogging platform, Musk last week disclosed a purchase of 73.5 million shares – or 9.2 percent – of Twitter’s common stock. His announcement sent Twitter shares soaring more than 25 percent.
He was offered a seat on the board but turned it down at the weekend.
Musk’s move comes after he tweeted Saturday asking whether the social media network was “dying” and to call out users such as singer Justin Bieber, who are highly followed but rarely post.
“Most of these ‘top’ accounts tweet rarely and post very little content,” the Tesla boss wrote, captioning a list of the 10 profiles with the most followers – which includes himself at number eight, with 81 million followers.
“Is Twitter dying?” he asked.
In other weekend tweets, Musk posted joke polls on whether to drop the “w” from Twitter’s name and on converting its San Francisco headquarters to a homeless shelter “since no one shows up anyway.”
He also suggested removing ads, Twitter’s main source of revenue.
The billionaire tech entrepreneur is a frequent Twitter user, regularly mixing in inflammatory and controversial statements about issues or other public figures with remarks that are whimsical or business-focused.
He has also sparred repeatedly with federal securities regulators, who cracked down on his social media use after a purported effort to take Tesla private in 2018 fell apart.