Three weeks after becoming the biggest shareholder in Twitter, Elon Musk offered to buy the social media company on April 14 triggering speculation about the future of the company. But before the offer could reach an agreement, on May 13, Musk said his bid is temporarily on hold till Twitter provides sufficient proof that the number of bot accounts on the platform are less than 5% of the total user base. Here’s everything that’s happened so far.
Elon Musk becomes biggest shareholder in Twitter
On April 4, the billionaire revealed that he has bought a 9.2 per cent share — the biggest stake — in Twitter. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk was holding 73,486,938 shares worth $2.89 billion in the company as of March 14. The shares he owned were four times more than Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (2.25%).
Musk expected to join Twitter’s Board
A day after acquiring the stake in Twitter, the company’s CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted that the platform had appointed the Tesla CEO to its Board. “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” Agrawal said in a tweet.
I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 5, 2022
Replying to Agrawal’s tweet, Musk wrote, “Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!”
Musk declines offer to join the Board
In another tweet on April 11, Agrawal announced that Musk decided not to join the Board. “Elon Musk has decided not to join our board. The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Musk as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward,” Agrawal said in the note.
Musk offers to buy Twitter
Days after refusing to join the Board, on April 14, the richest man in the world made headlines by offering to completely acquire Twitter. He made an offer of about $43 billion to take over the company. “Twitter has extraordinary potential, I will unlock it,” Musk said.
Musk’s total wealth is worth $249 billion, making him the richest man of the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Twitter, on the other hand, was valued at $37 billion.
Musk also said that Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company and will neither thrive nor serve societal imperative in its current form.
Twitter confirmed receiving this offer but maintained that the Board of Directors will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stockholders.
Twitter accepts offer
On April 25, the microblogging platform made the decision to accept the Tesla CEO’s offer, at approximately $44 billion. “The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Mr. Musk disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter,” the company said in a statement.
Musk clarifies ‘free speech’
Musk has been a vocal advocate of ‘free speech' on Twitter and has conducted polls on the platform asking his followers whether “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and whether Twitter “rigorously adheres to this principle”.
On April 26, he clarified his stance on the topic in a tweet. “By free speech, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask(the) government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people,” he wrote.
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
Twitter deal in the UK Parliament
Musk was invited to the UK’s Parliament by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee of the House, on April 29, to discuss his plans to acquire Twitter. The Committee has urged the Tesla CEO to provide evidence about his proposals in greater detail.
The return of Trump
On May 10, Musk said that he wants Twitter to be a forum for debate. He announced that once he takes over the company, he will lift the ban slapped by the social media company on former US President Donald Trump.
Trump was barred from Twitter over allegations of making inflammatory statements and attacks on the US Capitol. The former President, however, seemed reluctant to return to the platform.
Deal on hold
In a tweet on May 13, the Tesla CEO said that the Twitter deal is temporarily on hold pending details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users. However, about two hours later he said in a tweet that he was still committed to the acquisition.