Elon Musk has gotten away with it again. Twitter announced on Monday an agreement with the CEO of Tesla, the richest man in the world, which allows him to buy the entire social network in an operation valued at 44,000 million dollars (about 41,000 million euros). The tycoon made the offer public 11 days ago, after it was reported in early April that he had acquired a 9.2% stake in the company. After the sale, the company will cease to be listed on the Stock Exchange.
Negotiations to close the deal have been going against the clock over the weekend. The businessman will pay $54.20 per share to take over the social network (which represents a 38% premium over the average price for this month).
In its 16 years of existence, Twitter has become a privileged and often contentious forum in which debate on political and social issues is settled, as well as one of the bloodiest fronts in the war around borders. of freedom of expression. The new owner of Twitter has his own ideas about how that freedom should be managed, and his arrival promises to turn upside down the rules with which its more than 217 million users are related every day.
It is not the most populated social network, but it may be the most influential in guiding global conversations, as the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, knew well, who used it fervently as a means of communication and a destabilizing agent until who was expelled for spreading falsehoods about the reasons for his defeat in the 2020 elections. The concern during this process about the direction that Twitter can take with the new ownership has been one of the topics that has dominated the conversation on the social network, that this Monday was buzzing with the news.
“Freedom of expression is the foundation of democracy, and Twitter is the digital plaza where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement shortly after the sale. “[La empresa] it has enormous potential. I am looking forward to working with the firm and with the community of its users to get the most out of it”. The new owner also promises to incorporate “new features, share open source algorithms [de modo que cualquier pueda consultar el funcionamiento de sus decisiones]defeat the bot [dedicados a la difusión] from spam and certify that all users are human.
The announcement, which began to be taken for granted on Sunday, had been expected since Monday morning and was pending a meeting of the Twitter Board of Directors. Before the opening of the markets, the shares of the social network were already up 5%. The listing was suspended (and the titles remained at a price of a little over 51 dollars) shortly before the confirmation of the agreement, which was accepted unanimously and will be completed before the end of this year.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
The operation is a triumph for Musk, 50, who, true to his unorthodox style and with a kamikaze point, has managed to twist Twitter’s hand. The company had initially sent unequivocal signals that he would not accept the offer. The ritual of courtship and rejection between the company and the billionaire, who cultivates his fame as unpredictable and eccentric, has been followed as a vibrant technological-stock soap opera.
It all started on April 14, when Musk, who is one of the most famous and also most active users of Twitter, where he has more than 83 million followers, announced that he wanted to buy the company to make it a place more in line with his needs. ideals, contrary to any kind of interventionism.
So he didn’t say how much he was willing to pay. The board of directors of the social network reacted with the announcement that it would launch a corporate maneuver to make it difficult for Musk, who is also the CEO of SpaceX aeronautics and is in the health and artificial intelligence business (Neuralink) and infrastructures (The Boring Company), took control of the technology platform. The clause, known in the economic world as poison pill (poisonous pill), was presented with a validity until April 14, 2023, which allowed the current management to gain time. Its managers have experienced a heart attack month, when they had not yet recovered from the shock of the resignation in November of Jack Dorsey, one of its founders, as CEO. He was replaced by Parag Agrawal, the social network’s chief technology officer, and there was some consensus that the firm was not being run brilliantly.
The negotiation changed course when the Tesla boss revealed last week that he had 46.5 billion to make the purchase effective. Twitter then thought better of it and opened the door to talk. The tug of war has finally ended with the acceptance of Musk’s terms as he laid them out from the beginning. This was seen on Friday with some of the company’s largest shareholders to sell the benefits of his offer, which he defined as a decision of “take it or leave it” that those had to adopt quickly. That speed has finally been greater than expected.
As a user, Musk uses the social network with his own style. An ordinary day on his account can result in a mix of relevant business announcements, enigmatic deep-seeming musings, platitudes, memes and bitter public spats. Like when he got into a fight last fall with 80-year-old Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, a representative from the State of Vermont. Sanders wrote in a tweet: “We must require the extremely wealthy to pay their fair share. [de impuestos]. Spot”. And Musk, who took the hint, replied with this other: “It happens to me all the time that I forget that you are still alive.” Also, on occasion, the tycoon uses that forum to give clues about his volatile intentions. One of the last tweets that can be interpreted in that key was published on Sunday. I simply put “moving on”. We keep moving. In another, released on Monday, she wrote: “I hope even my biggest critics stay on Twitter. That means freedom of expression.”