Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter, says social media giant needs to be ‘transformed’ – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) – Proclaiming that Twitter must be “transformed,” activist investor Elon Musk offered to buy the San Francisco-based social media giant for more than $43 billion, just days later. that the CEO of Tesla said he wouldn’t do it again. join the company’s board of directors.

Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that Musk, who currently owns just over 9% of its shares and is the company’s largest shareholder, provided the company with a letter on Wednesday containing a proposal to buy the shares. leftovers from Twitter. that he does not already have. Musk offered $54.20 per share on Twitter.

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He called the award his best and final offer, although the billionaire did not provide any details on the funding. The offer is non-binding and subject to financing and other conditions.

“I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the world, and I believe that free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy” , Musk says in the filing. “However, since making my investment, I now realize that the business will not thrive or serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed into a private enterprise.

Musk’s takeover offer is just the latest development in his relationship with Twitter. The billionaire revealed in regulatory filings in recent weeks that he bought shares in almost daily batches starting Jan. 31. Only the Vanguard Group’s suite of mutual funds and ETFs controls more Twitter stock.

Musk has been an outspoken critic of Twitter in recent weeks, largely due to his belief that it violates free speech principles. The social media platform has angered supporters of Donald Trump and other far-right political figures whose accounts have been suspended for violating its content standards on violence, hate or harmful misinformation. Musk also has a history of his own tweets causing legal issues.

Musk said last week that he informed Twitter that he would not be joining its board five days after being invited. He didn’t explain why, but the decision coincided with a barrage of now-deleted tweets from Musk proposing major changes to the company, such as removing ads – its main source of income – and transforming its headquarters. of San Francisco into a homeless shelter. Musk dropped some clues on Twitter about his thinking, such as ‘liking’ a tweet that summed up events as Musk went from ‘free speech’s biggest stakeholder’ to ‘order to play nice and not to speak freely”.

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After Musk announced his participation, Twitter quickly gave Musk a seat on its board of directors on the condition that he own no more than 14.9% of the company’s outstanding shares, according to a filing. But Musk backed out of the deal.

Musk’s 81 million Twitter followers make him one of the most popular figures on the platform, rivaling pop stars like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. But his prolific tweets have occasionally gotten him in trouble with the SEC and others.

In 2018, Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines and for Musk to have his tweets cleared by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted that he had the money to take Tesla private at $420 a share. . That didn’t happen, but the tweet sent Tesla’s stock price skyrocketing. Musk’s latest issue with the SEC may be his delay in telling regulators about his growing Twitter stake.

Musk has described himself as a ‘free speech absolutist’ and said he doesn’t believe Twitter upholds the principles of free speech – a view shared by Donald Trump supporters and a number other right-wing political figures who had their accounts suspended for violating Twitter’s content rules.

Shares of Twitter jumped 11% before the market opened. The stock is still down from its 52-week high of around $73. Shares of Tesla, the electric vehicle maker led by Musk, fell about 0.9%.

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© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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