Elon Musk is buying Twitter.
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and the Boring Company will add another corporate feather to his bejeweled cap, after the social media platform announced Monday, April 25, that it intends to accept the self-described Technoking’s approximately $44 billion purchase offer of $54.20 per share.
Th reactions were decidedly mixed.
How we got here
Musk first began buying large amounts of Twitter stock in March of 2022, reportedly failing to disclose his purchases in a timely manner as required by securities laws (getting himself a cool $143 million in the process).
The stock grab was only the latest in what could charitably be described as a complicated relationship between Musk and the social media platform. Over the years, Musk has been charged with securities fraud for “misleading tweets,” been taken to court over his Twitter-based attack on a cave diver, and, more recently, proposed turning Twitter’s San Francisco office into a shelter for unhoused individuals.
And, it seems that he really wants an edit button.
Musk’s Twitter account, which at the time of this writing has almost 84 million followers, is essential to his personal brand. And, having long since dissolved Tesla’s PR department, it’s also essential to his business.
Musk’s completely free and unfettered use of that account has, at various points during the past few years, been slightly threatened — most notably when the terms of a 2018 settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission required him to get pre-approval from Tesla for certain tweets. He appeared to ignore the Twitter-specific terms of that settlement.
When Musk’s March, 2022 purchases were eventually disclosed, there was talk of him joining Twitter’s board. An agreement for him to do so was even reached in early April, but then, abruptly, Twitter declared that Musk would not be joining the board after all.
Why? Perhaps it had something to do with Twitter board members being limited to owning 14.9 percent of the company.
At the time, Twitter employees were reportedly relieved that Musk would not sit on the board.
What happens next at Twitter
The road ahead, both for Twitter and for Musk, is a rocky one.
The overly enthusiastic tweeter has posted, and in some cases deleted, numerous polls asking Twitter users what changes should be made to the platform itself. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Twitter employees have been left wondering what this purchase means both for the service they work on and their stock-heavy compensation.
The company went so far as to reportedly lock down changes to its product, perhaps, as Bloomberg reports, in order to “keep employees who may be miffed about the deal from ‘going rogue.'”
Musk, in the meantime, shared a statement on (where else) Twitter where he shared some of what he hopes to accomplish.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,” he wrote in part.
Nowhere in the statement did the richest person in the world note what appears to be the most obvious reason for his purchase: Now no one can threaten to take away his favorite toy.
And after the transaction goes through, we’ll all be playing in his sandbox.