It looks like Elon Musk is going to take over Twitter after all.
Fresh off of outlining his solution for the Russia-Ukraine crisis, via, of course, tweet, then complaining, once again, about how the platform is riddled with bots, the billionaire has reportedly sent a letter to Twitter management proposing that they avoid the coming courtroom battle over his attempt to pull out of his takeover deal, and that Twitter accept his offer, at the original, agreed price of $54.20 per share.
Musk has reportedly offered to end all litigation, and avoid a messy courtroom drama, by going back to his original plan, which would see Musk become Tweeter-in-Chief, and end months of public back-and-forth between the two parties.
Why would Musk do this?
Well, clearly, Musk’s legal team is not entirely confident that this is a battle they can win. Twitter’s team has been steadfast in its legal basis, in regards to the clauses of the deal, which they say includes ‘airtight commitments’ that will lock Musk into his original offer either way.
The court trial is also likely to uncover discord around Twitter’s management and processes, which, if Musk does eventually lose the case, would then become his problem, and that PR damage could further reduce the value of the company.
It seems, then, that Musk and Co. have decided that this will all be too much, and if they’re not likely to win, they may as well bite the bullet and move on to the next stage.
At least, that’s how it seems.
According to several reports, Twitter’s not exactly jumping at Musk’s latest offer, with Twitter management now increasingly skeptical of the businessman’s tactics, and any provisions that he may have added in to still pull out of his original offer. It doesn’t seem like there’s any way out for Musk and Co., but Twitter is now assessing this latest offer, before deciding on whether to accept.
Maybe, Twitter thinks that it could get more from penalties assigned to Musk as a result of the court trial, or maybe they’re just being extra cautious after months of uncertainty.
Either way, it’s not a done deal just yet.
But the offer is seemingly a concession from Musk’s side that the court case is not going to go their way, which means that, as of right now at least, it does seem like Musk will become the new owner of Twitter, sometime soon.
What will that mean for Twitter?
It’s impossible to say, but going on Musk’s original plans for the platform, as outlined in his recently published text message exchanges, Twitter is set to become:
- Less reliant on ads – Guided by advice from former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Musk had envisioned an open source version of Twitter, where the platform no longer relied on ad dollars to operate. Musk later conceded that this may not be possible, but it seems that he will explore ways to reduce the platform’s reliance on ads, which could include new subscription options, including charging a fee for commercial users of the app.
- More aligned with free speech – In various text exchanges, Musk at least entertained the idea of Twitter loosening its rules around what people can say and share in the app. One of Musk’s confidantes suggested that he transform the app into ‘the global backbone of free speech’ by essentially removing all rules and restrictions on what people can tweet. Musk didn’t necessarily support this concept, but it does seem likely that a Musk-owned Twitter will be more open, which could lead to a range of new challenges and concerns.
- More aggressive in removing bots – Musk has loudly and repeatedly criticized Twitter for the amount of bots on the platform, a problem which he originally vowed to solve. He then looked to use bots as a means to exit his takeover deal – but in essence, it does seem like Musk is going to have to tackle the bot issue, which could see Twitter’s active user count take a hit. Which would be bad for the company’s share price, but Musk wants to take it private anyway.
Musk’s other plans for Twitter include massive staff cuts, while he also, apparently, has assured investors that he can take the app from the 238 million daily actives it has right now, to 931 million by 2028.
Look, it’s Elon Musk, and somehow, someway, he has been able to get some pretty large-scale things done that others thought were impossible, whether that’s through clever investments, luck, circumstance or more.
Even the harshest critics have to concede that he has a solid track record on this front, and with that in mind, maybe he can turn Twitter into a billion-user powerhouse, and make it a more relevant part of our interactive process.
We’ll soon, seemingly, find out, with Twitter mulling Musk’s latest offer, which could see him take over very quickly, if accepted.
UPDATE: Twitter had provided the following statement on the re-issued Musk offer:
Twitter issued this statement about today’s news: We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC. The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.
— Twitter Investor Relations (@TwitterIR) October 4, 2022