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Assessing the Options for Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover Push

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What to Make of Elon Musk's Buy-Up of Twitter Shares


So what are the chances that Elon Musk actually ends up owning Twitter, and taking the platform private?

Well, it’s not looking great for Tesla Social supporters, at least in this form.

Following Musk’s $54.20 per share buyout offer, and his various and ongoing criticisms of Twitter management, analysts have been trying to gauge the potential of a Twitter sale, with some private equity firms now looking to get in on the action, and either support rival bids for the company, or to partner with Musk in his buyout plans.

The basic premise is that Twitter is underachieving – while Meta has gone on to become a global behemoth, raking in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, Twitter, once considered a rival for Facebook, has failed to capitalize on its potential.

That may or may not be true, though there is some fairly strong evidence to support the suggestion that Twitter’s mismanagement, and lack of clear direction, has impeded its progress. From a business perspective, that spells opportunity – so while Elon is aiming to convert Twitter into the platform of free speech, by taking it private, and reducing its reliance on ads (thus enabling it to detach itself from censorship concerns), private equity firms smell cash, and the opportunity to make money on the back of Musk’s takeover push.

Indeed, according to reports, several PE firms, including Thoma Bravo and Morgan Stanley, have contacted Twitter’s board about possible alternative avenues to sale.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

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Apollo, one of the world’s largest buyout firms, has held discussions about backing a possible deal for Twitter and could provide Mr. Musk or another bidder like private-equity firm Thoma Bravo LP with equity or debt to support an offer, the people said.

So while Twitter is expected to reject Musk’s takeover offer within days (speculation is that Twitter could announce its decision as part of its Q1 earnings report on April 28th), Musk’s takeover bid has opened the door for others, which could see an alternative, and more attractive bid arise, which may still see Twitter sold into new ownership.

At the same time, Musk has continued to criticize Twitter management, and the process which enables Twitter’s board to assess and decide on his bid, not Twitter shareholders, who Musk clearly suspects may be more enticed by his offer.

One way around this could be a tender offer, which Musk seemingly alluded to in a recent tweet:

In that process, Twitter shareholders would have the option to tender their shares at his offer price, which would enable Musk to theoretically win the platform via shareholder approval, side-stepping the board.

It’s a more complex route, and would require majority shareholder support for Musk’s offer (which is also, seemingly, not going happen). But it could provide another way for Musk to take over the platform, and convert into his vision for a free speech haven, however that might look.

But on balance, the odds would be against that actually happening, and with Twitter seemingly set to also rebuff Musk’s offer, the most likely outcome, at least at this stage, is that Twitter will shrug off Musk’s takeover attempt, then try to move on in the wake of its latest controversy.

What Musk does then is unclear.

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Will he try to start his own social media platform anyway (ala Trump)? Will he look to partner with somebody else to put together a bigger offer? Will he just shut his Twitter account down, and move over to BeReal instead?

I do suspect that Musk overrates his popularity and magnetism, and as such, I could see him jumping to another platform, and expecting his 84 million+ followers to come along for the next chapter in his social media journey.

I doubt, however, that many would actually bother.

But there is another option which would definitely spark interest, even if it might be entirely unfeasible.

In recent days, Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey has been actively criticising his former company, and its board, in a series of tweet replies.

Dorsey has as much experience in the social media space as anyone, and he has strong views on the good and bad decisions that Twitter has made over time, while he’s also been a vocal supporter of Elon Musk and his future vision.

Maybe Musk and Dorsey should partner up on an entirely new platform, similar to Twitter, but without the issues that have impeded the app’s progress?

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To be clear, neither Dorsey nor Musk have suggested anything along these lines, but it could be another avenue to consider, with the experience and backing to potentially give it a fighting chance.

But right now, as everything stands, it doesn’t look like we’re going to see Musk taking over Twitter – though as the past few weeks have shown, anything is still possible in this space.





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Op-Ed: ‘Armed rebellion’ and ‘civil war’ calls get massively unimpressed response on Twitter

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Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022

Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022 – Copyright AFP/File Aleksey Filippov

Social media does turn out to be good for something, after all. Much raging online about Trump’s Mar-A-Lago raid isn’t going over. Maybe the endless tantrums are getting a bit stale. A virtual tide of Twitter responses isn’t buying it on any level.

One Tweet pointed out Trump said “they raided my home” before it was actually raided. Trump lawyers, meanwhile, said he wasn’t notified…? Generally speaking,  warrants are not carried out on an RSVP basis. You don’t ask the crack house when would be a good time to call, for example.

You may (or may not) also be interested to know that “Trump civil war” is now an auto search cue. The headlines for that search on Google News are really something else. The unimpressed response isn’t getting any coverage, hence this article. The picture is very different.

The adult news sticks to the point – Violation of the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act; you know, law. Much of this media, understandably, focuses on “what next?”.

“Other” news is all about QAnon-like conspiracies. (If you’ve got no facts, fiction is your only real option.) Trump’s playing along with it as usual. Trump is seen doing a Mussolini salute, an actual Fascist fist, in various styles on multiple occasions. It looks more like a trained move. He wasn’t doing that previously, and he’s not good at it. Presumably, it means “defiance”, but it looks awkward and rehearsed.

Of course, the image has a role in anything to do with Trump. Trump is pumping the pity buttons in public. The GOP and MAGA are pushing the extreme rhetoric. As a marketing exercise, it’s selling sand to people living in deserts. The problem is that it doesn’t sell to anyone else.

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These thunderous noises also don’t quite gel with the fact that Trump lawyers, who requested documents regarding the warrant, haven’t yet agreed to make them public. As mixed messages go, it’s about what you’d expect from anything associated with Trump. Is there a problem with making them public? Could be.

Rebellion against what?

There’s a bit of a practical issue with “Trump civil war”, too. Any such thing would be total coast-to-coast carnage. Sandy Hooks and Uvaldes all round, no doubt. Does America, already so happily living among the gangs and mass shootings, really want a civil war?

Maybe not?

You’ll need to answer that question. …Because over half the country didn’t vote for that and they might get really ticked off about it.

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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