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Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

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Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter


Well, I don’t think anyone saw this coming, not in any realistic sense at least.

But evidently, Elon Musk is serious about his push to better align Twitter with free speech principles, with the billionaire Tesla CEO offering a full, $43 billion hostile takeover bid for the app.

As per Musk’s note to the SEC:

“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. However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”

Musk has been a vocal proponent of free speech, and has often criticized Twitter’s moderation efforts, including its decision to ban former US President Donald Trump.

Last week, before it was revealed that Musk was buying up Twitter shares (which he’s actually been accumulating steadily since January), Musk noted that Twitter needs to adhere to ‘free speech principles’ to truly serve its purpose.

That’s seemingly the impetus for Musk’s takeover bid, with Musk now outlining a vague plan to take Twitter into private ownership, in order to reduce its reliance on shareholders and ad dollars, thereby enabling it to make truly independent decisions for the good of public debate.

“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 and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”

Market analysts say that Musk’s offer is low, given that Twitter shares recently reached $70. But it could still be tempting, and it is enough to at least be taken seriously as a legitimate takeover bid.

If Musk’s takeover offer is accepted, Twitter will likely see significant changes, and really, all bets are off as to what then happens to the app. But if the bid is rejected, Musk has suggested that he will likely withdraw from the company completely.

 “If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management, nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder. This is not a threat, it’s simply not a good investment without the changes that need to be made.”

It’ll be interesting to see if that also includes Musk deleting his Twitter account, which currently has over 81 million followers, and is a key media tool for the sometimes eccentric billionaire.

Following the revelation that Musk had become Twitter’s biggest individual shareholder earlier in the month (till Vanguard Group bought up more shares to overtake him), Musk began polling his Twitter followers on questions about how to ‘fix’ the platform. Musk was seemingly then advised to stop tweeting critical commentary, as a pending Twitter board member, which then lead to Musk withdrawing his interest in joining the board entirely.

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It seems that Musk was dissatisfied with the response that he received from Twitter management, as he’s now looking to replace them wholesale, and start afresh with the company.

It’s an extraordinary move, and one that again raises questions about the disproportionate power of the billionaire class. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, owns The Washington Post, and some have suggested that it’s now more favorable to Bezos’ positions in its editorial coverage (note: independent studies have found little to no evidence of bias in the Post’s reporting since Bezos’ acquisition).

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds significant power as the owner of several of the most utilized social media apps, while Apple and Google, while not independently controlled by a single wealthy founder in the same way, can also exert a level of control over media reach via their highly used digital properties.

In Musk’s case, he clearly doesn’t like what Twitter is doing, and being rich enough as he is, he’s seeking to do something about it, which could have significant consequences, in many ways.

On balance, I would say that the likelihood of Musk’s takeover offer being accepted is not high – but then again, I’d have never guessed that Musk would make such an aggressive push on Twitter shares, or indeed that he’d move into hostile takeover mode for the app.

So, who knows how this plays out? In some ways, it seems like just enough of an offer to be taken seriously, but not enough to be actually accepted.

But maybe Twitter will become ‘Tesla Social’, and memes and in-jokes about ‘420’ (note Musk’s offer price) and every other ‘edgelord’ trend will dominate in this new ‘free speech’ led cesspit.

It’s pretty concerning to think about – but maybe, this could actually happen, which could spell the end for Twitter as we know it.

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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

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It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

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  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

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Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

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Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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