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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Twitter ‘in talks with Musk to buy platform’

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Twitter’s board and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk negotiated into the early hours of Monday over his bid to buy the social media platform, The New York Times has reported.

Mr Musk said last week that he has lined up 46.5 billion dollars (£36.2 billion) in financing to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company’s board to negotiate a deal.

The Times, citing people with knowledge of the situation whom it did not identify, said the two sides were discussing details including a timeline and fees if an agreement was signed but then fell apart. The sources said the situation was fluid and fast-moving.

Twitter had enacted an anti-takeover measure known as a poison pill which could make a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive. But the board decided to negotiate after Mr Musk updated his proposal to show he had secured financing, according to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the negotiations were under way.

On April 14, Mr Musk announced an offer to buy the social media platform for 54.20 dollars (£42.20) per share, or about 43 billion dollars (£33.5 billion), but did not say at the time how he would finance the acquisition.

Last week, he said in documents filed with US securities regulators that the money would come from Morgan Stanley and other banks, some of it secured by his huge stake in the electric car maker.

Twitter has not commented.

Mr Musk has said he wants to buy Twitter because he does not feel it is living up to its potential as a platform for free speech.

In recent weeks, he has voiced a number of proposed changes for the company, from relaxing its content restrictions – such as the rules that suspended former President Donald Trump’s account – to ridding the platform of its problems with fake and automated accounts.

Mr Musk is the world’s wealthiest person, according to Forbes, with a near 279 billion dollar (£217.2 billion) fortune. But much of his money is tied up in Tesla stock – he owns about 17% of the company, according to FactSet, which is valued at more than 1 trillion dollars (£778.5 billion) – and SpaceX, his privately held space company. It is unclear how much cash he has.

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