Yesterday, some Twitter shareholders declared war on Elon Musk by dragging him to justice. But the richest man in the world refuses the conflict. Instead, he draws his most powerful weapon: money. His goal: to conquer Twitter once and for all. His proposal: buy all the shares of the social network for 54.20 dollars per share, or 43.4 billion dollars (39.77 billion euros) in total. An offer higher than the current capitalization of Twitter by 6.7 billion. “This is my best offer and my final offer“, he proclaims in the official document he sent Thursday, April 14 to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the American stock market policeman.
Elon Musk drops the mask
At the same time, Elon Musk wants to withdraw Twitter from the Stock Exchange. If the current management refuses, the all-powerful boss of Tesla and Space X warns that he “will reconsider its position as a shareholder“.
In pre-market electronic trading, the stock took off 12.24% to 51.5 dollars. Since Monday April 4, when Elon Musk revealed that he had bought 9.2% of the shares of the social network, the value of the action has taken 17%, from 39.31 dollars to 45.85 dollars on Wednesday April 13 at fence.
What will the management and shareholders of Twitter do, whom Elon Musk hopes to convince by the added value he offers them? In a statement, Twitter said it had received “the unsolicited and non-binding offer” of Elon Musk, and declared that he was going “theexamine carefully“, for “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 and prefers to drop the mask directly by claiming absolute control of Twitter.
For years, the billionaire has been criticizing 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, according to him, harms freedom of expression, which is also a mantra of Donald’s supporters. Trump in the United States.
Ten surreal days
Elon Musk’s blitzkrieg on Twitter began only ten days ago. Monday, April 4, Elon Musk announced to everyone’s surprise that he had acquired 9.2% of the capital of the social network, for nearly 2.9 billion dollars, becoming in fact its largest shareholder. In his letter to the SEC, he specified that he had no intention of becoming an activist shareholder. But 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 muzzling freedom of expression and openly criticizing its management by Parag Agrawal, the CEO since last November and the sidelining of its founder and emblematic CEO, Jack Dorsey.
The gallery then wondered:Would Elon Musk rather 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 did not wait very long to confirm his interventionist will. That same evening, he launched his first offensive: a survey to find out if users want to be able to modify their tweets a posteriori. harmless? Not really. 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. The former management of Jack Dorsey was fiercely opposed to it because of the potential abuses linked to online harassment or misinformation. The founder had thus declared in 2020 that the button “edit” would not see “probably never” the day.
The board trap
Tuesday April 5, 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 market policeman for comments made on the social network – a place on the company’s board of directors.
CEO Parag Agrawal made the announcement 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 Board.” he explained. Elon Musk replied then, still in public: “I look forward to working with Parag & the Twitter Board to drive major improvements to Twitter in the coming months!”
But was it a victory for Elon Musk and a submission by Parag Agrawal, or was it a poisoned gift aimed at containing the aggressiveness of the new first shareholder? Because by accepting a position on the board of directors until 2024, Elon Musk thus prevented himself from rising to more than 14.9% of the capital of the company. He could certainly have tried to influence the company’s strategy via the board of directors – and his strike force, thanks to his 80 million followers, is real – but the majority of him would still have had to it validates his requests.
A weekend of provocative messages
For a few days, Elon Musk seemed to choose the option of putting pressure on the board of directors by “trolling” the social network massively. On Thursday, he published a “meme” featuring a famous photo where we see him holding a joint in a halo of smoke, with the caption: “Ihe next Twitter board is going 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.
On Saturday, he went even further in the pressure. “Is Twitter Dying?” he asked, illustrating his point by the fact that most of the “super accounts” of the social network – those with the most subscribers like Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga … – post rarely content.
Even more “troll”, Elon Musk published two other tweets over the weekend, which must have stuck in Parag Agrawal’s throat. The first was a poll, with the options “yes” or “of course” to the question “Should the ‘w’ be removed from Twitter?“. In the second, he suggested to “convert Twitter headquarters in San Francisco into a shelter for the homeless“, because “no one goes there anyway” [sic].
And then finally, Elon Musk has – again – changed his mind. Monday, April 11, he refused his seat on the board of directors. And not in the most elegant of ways: according to a message from CEO Parag Agrawal, the world’s richest man according to Forbes simply stood up to the leaders, when he had publicly hinted that he would sit.
“Elon’s appointment to the board was supposed to go into effect on April 9, but Elon told us the same day that he wouldn’t be joining.“, wrote Agrawal, before adding: “Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his ideas“. One hour after the CEO’s message, the principal concerned was content to respond by publishing the emoji “giggle“…without further comment.
Tuesday, April 12, some shareholders dared to declare war on him, by filing a complaint with the financial market regulator. Their grievance: they accused Elon Musk of declaring the crossing of the 5% threshold to the SEC 10 days late, causing financial damage to shareholders who sold their shares during this period, and allowing Musk to climb further. to capital by taking advantage of the low value of the share. There is no doubt that this proposal to buy Twitter should allow these shareholders, if they take the pole, to fall back on their feet.