Just days after becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder, tech mogul Elon Musk has offered to buy the company outright. Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that Musk has offered to buy the remaining shares of Twitter that he doesn’t already own at $54.20 per share, an offer worth more than $43 billion.
Musk has said that Twitter “needs to be transformed” in order to protect free speech. Furthermore, Musk has frequently argued that Twitter has far too much power and that its use of selectively applied terms of service enforcement undermines the app’s integrity. Musk has repeatedly referred to Twitter as a “digital town sqaure.”
“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,” Musk said in the filing. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”
The social media giant said it had received Musk’s offer and will decide whether it is in the best interests of shareholders to accept or continue to operate as a publicly traded company. The company’s board of directors first met at 10 am in order to discuss the move. In addition, Twitter has called an “all-hands” meeting for all employees at 5 pm ET.
Musk was initially set to join Twitter’s board on the condition that he would not own more than 14.9% of the company. He later declined the offer to join the board days later, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, Agrawal told his employees to be mindful of “distractions” in the coming weeks and to “tune out the noise and stay focused on the work.”
Analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush said in a client note that he believes “this soap opera will end with Musk owning Twitter after this aggressive hostile takeover of the company”, the AP reported. Ives believes it will be hard for other bidders to come forward and said Twitter’s board will likely be forced to accept Musk’s offer or start a process to sell the company.