The average billionaire buys yachts, cars and buildings. But Elon Musk is not your average billionaire. The richest man in the world, owner of an immense fortune that is around 260,000 million dollars according to Bloomberg – the next, by far, is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, with 180,000 million -, wants to be the owner of his own network social, and has offered 43,000 million dollars (about 37,000 million euros) to buy Twitter at a rate of 51.4 dollars per share. That represents a premium of 38% compared to the price at which the company was trading on April 1. The titles of the social network have received the news with increases of 3% in the first bars of the session on Wall Street.
The owner of the SpaceX aeronautics and CEO of the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla surprised just a few days ago by entering the capital of Twitter, one of his favorite entertainments, and where his popularity is notorious, as evidenced by his almost 82 million followers — the eighth most followed account, on a list headed by former US President Barack Obama with 131 million. On April 4, he went from an illustrious user to the main shareholder by acquiring 9.2% of the company. Now Musk is going a step further, and is committed to gaining full control through a hostile takeover bid against which it is unknown if there will be resistance. “It is my best and last offer and if it is not accepted, I would have to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” Musk warned in a letter to Twitter president Bret Taylor.
The phrase can be read as a threat. Twitter shareholders now see their titles appreciate strongly, but if Musk does not achieve his goal of taking control of the company and decides to get rid of them, the fall would be as vertical as the rise has been in recent days. Musk’s changes of opinion are not surprising: last year he announced that Tesla would accept bitcoin as a means of payment to purchase its cars, and rectified it only three months later, alleging environmental reasons linked to the impact on the planet of cryptocurrency mining. .
Musk got up early on Thursday to post a tweet announcing his intention to buy Twitter. “I made an offer,” he wrote in a brief message accompanied by a link to the website of the US regulator where the details of the operation appear. In the last few hours, his name has been on the lips of corporate America, eager to know to what extent Musk would get involved in running Twitter. On Sunday there was news: Musk declined to enter the board of directors of Twitter. But the bomb exploded this Thursday with his purpose of adding Twitter to his list of companies. The investment fits like a glove in a personality that cultivates the show, far from the discreet ways of other wealthy celebrities.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
In this Thursday’s letter, Musk implies that he does not intend to take the helm to keep the ship on course. He explains that one of the reasons that pushed him to take a stake was to turn it into a platform for freedom of expression. “Since making my investment, I have realized that the company will not prosper or meet this social imperative in its current form. Twitter must become a private company”, he states.
That would mean taking Twitter out of the stock market. And it doesn’t look like the transformation will stop there if it succeeds. Ten days ago, he launched a survey on Twitter about whether the social network should incorporate a button to edit messages. Right now that option doesn’t exist, so if someone posts content they later regret, they can just delete it and hope there are no screenshots circulating. 73% voted in favor of including it.
The move brings social media back to the forefront years after other celebrated acquisitions. And the increase in prices paid shows its growing influence and the boom of users who live. In 2006, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. In 2012, Facebook took over Instagram after spending $1 billion. In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg’s company again starred in a multimillion-dollar operation by taking over WhatsApp for 19,000 million dollars. And Microsoft paid even more for LinkedIn in 2016, when it paid $26.2 billion.
If confirmed, the purchase would open a chain of questions. Twitter is one of the largest speakers on the planet, with 217 million users on average, according to data from the last quarter of 2021. Will Musk try to use that influence in some way to promote his own interests or those of his companies? Another dilemma is to know if under his baton it will be able to achieve the profitability that it does not have now: in 2021 Twitter lost 221 million dollars despite entering 5,077 million. The trend is positive: in 2020 the losses were much higher, at 1,135 million, but the company has not made a profit since 2019.