Yesterday, some Twitter shareholders declared war on Elon Musk and brought him to justice. 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 proposal: to buy all the shares of the social network at 54.20 dollars per share, or 43.4 billion dollars (39.77 billion euros) in total. An offer exceeding Twitter’s current capitalization of 6.7 billion. “This is my best offer and my final offer“, The American stock exchange policeman proclaims in the official document sent Thursday, April 14 to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Elon Musk drops the mask
At the same time, Elon Musk wants to take Twitter off the stock exchange. If the current management refuses, the all-powerful Tesla and Space X boss warns that he “will reconsider its position as shareholder“.
In pre-market electronic trading, the stock took off 12.24% to $ 51.5. Since Monday April 4, when Elon Musk revealed that he bought 9.2% of the social network’s stock, the share’s value has taken 17%, from $ 39.31 to $ 45.85 on Wednesday April 13 at fence.
What will the management and shareholders of Twitter do, which Elon Musk hopes to convince by the added value it offers them? In a statement, Twitter said it received “the unsolicited and non-binding offer“by Elon Musk, and stated that he would go” onexamine carefully“, deposit”determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the company and all of Twitter’s shareholders“
With this offer, Elon Musk finally refuses to play the activist shareholder and prefers to drop the mask directly and claim 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. The purchase of Twitter would thus allow him to shape this world-famous platform, which boasts 212 million monetizable users per day and which, according to him, undermines freedom of expression, which is also a mantra of Donald Trump supporters in the United States.
Ten surreal days
Elon Musk’s Twitter blitzkrieg only started ten days ago. On Monday 4 April, Elon Musk announced to everyone’s surprise that he had acquired 9.2% of the capital of the social network, for almost 2.9 billion dollars, becoming the de facto largest shareholder. In his letter to the SEC, he specified that he had no intention of becoming an activist shareholder. But it is impossible to ignore that since January, which corresponds to the purchase of his first Twitter shares, the whimsical entrepreneur has multiplied criticism of the social network, accusing it of gagging freedom of expression and openly criticizing its management by Parag Agrawal, CEO since last November and the departure of its founder and emblematic CEO, Jack Dorsey.
The gallery then I asked myself:Would Elon Musk prefer to invest in a well-known social network, despite growth problems, and thus “influence” the direction of an established company and platform, rather than create one from scratch? “
Elon Musk didn’t wait long to confirm his interventionist will. That same evening it launched its first offensive: a survey to find out if users want to be able to edit their tweets afterwards. harmless? Not exactly. Because if it’s an old and popular request among Twitter users who want to be able to correct their mistakes when they write in a hurry. Jack Dorsey’s former management objected fiercely due to potential abuse related to harassment or misinformation online. The founder had thus declared in 2020 that the button “modify” I would not see “probably never” the day.
The trap of the board
On Tuesday 5 April, the day after the announcement of Elon Musk’s capital increase, Twitter offered its new first shareholder – also accused of possible price manipulation by the financial markets policeman for comments released on the social network – a place in the board of directors of the company.
This was announced by CEO Parag Agrawal in a tweet: “I am thrilled to share that we are appointing Elon Musk to the board! Through conversations with Elon over the past few weeks, it had become clear that he would bring great value to our Council. ” He explained. Elon Musk then replied, always in public: “I’m looking forward to working with Parag and the Twitter Board to make major improvements to Twitter in the coming months! “
But was it a win for Elon Musk and an offer for Parag Agrawal, or was it a poisoned gift aimed at containing the aggression of the new first shareholder? Because by accepting a position on the board of directors until 2024, Elon Musk has thus prevented himself from rising to more than 14.9% of the company’s capital. He certainly could have tried to influence the company’s strategy through the board of directors – and his strike force, thanks to his 80 million followers, is real – but most of him would still have to validate requests for. he.
A weekend of provocative messages
For a few days, Elon Musk seemed to have chosen the option of lobbying the board of directors by massively “trolling” the social network. On Thursday he posted a “meme” with a famous photo in which we see him holding a joint in a halo of smoke, with the caption: “Lthe next Twitter board is about to tear“He also agreed to meet with Twitter employees for a question and answer session, as if he were the new leader of the company.
Saturday came under even more pressure. “Is Twitter Dying?he asked, illustrating his point of view from the fact that most of the social network’s “super accounts” – those with the most subscribers like Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga … – publish rarely contained.
Even more “trolls”, Elon Musk posted two more tweets over the weekend, which must have stuck in Parag Agrawal’s throat. The first was a poll, with the options “yes” or “obviously” to the question “Should the “w” be removed from Twitter?“. In the second, he suggested that”convert Twitter headquarters in San Francisco into a shelter for the homeless“, car “nobody goes there anyway” [sic].
And then, finally, Elon Musk has – again – changed his mind. On Monday, April 11, he turned down his seat on the board of directors. And not in the most elegant way: according to a message from CEO Parag Agrawal, the second richest man in the world Forbes he simply opposed the leaders when he publicly hinted that he would sit down.
“Elon’s appointment to the board was supposed to go into effect on April 9, but Elon told us the same day that he would not be joining.“Wrote Agrawal, before adding: “Elon is our largest shareholder and we will remain open to his ideas“. An hour after the CEO’s message, the headmaster concerned contented himself with replying by posting the emoji.”giggle“… without further comment.
On Tuesday, April 12, some shareholders dared to declare war on him, filing a complaint with the regulator of the financial markets. Their grievance: They accused Elon Musk of declaring the SEC breached the 5% threshold 10 days late, causing financial damage to the shareholders who sold their shares during this period and allowing Musk to rise further in capital by profiting of the low value of the quota. There is no doubt that this Twitter takeover proposal should allow these shareholders, if they take the stake, to get back on their feet.