Twitter’s shares soared on Monday, edging closer to Elon Musk’s $54.20-per-share offer as he slammed the company’s board of directors amid reports of rival offers. The stock surged about 7.5 percent to $48.45 in the second full trading day after Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a “last and last bid” to purchase the social networking business on Thursday. The move caught everyone off guard, even Twitter. Even though its members announced they were evaluating Musk’s proposal, the board promptly put in place a “poison pill” to stop a hostile acquisition.
Musk tweeted Monday, “Board compensation will be $0 if my bid wins, therefore that’s $3M/year saved right there” (responding to a tweet listing the salaries of Twitter directors). Musk has previously tweeted that the board “together holds practically no shares!” Their economic interests are objectively not aligned with those of shareholders.” That didn’t include Jack Dorsey, the creator and former CEO of Twitter, who owns shares but plans to leave the board at the company’s annual meeting in May.
Dorsey also criticized the Twitter board in a few strange tweets, stating “it’s repeatedly been the business’s dysfunction” and invoking a “Silicon Valley proverb”: “Successful boards don’t make good companies, but a poor board will destroy a firm every time.” In November, Dorsey announced his resignation as CEO. Parad Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technical officer, is now in charge. The stock of Twitter was boosted in part by rumors that more bidders will enter the fray.
Apollo Global Management has been in discussions with a number of corporations about assisting in the financing of an offer, but nothing has been finalized. The Wall Street Journal reported today that private equity company Thoma Bravo LP might be a prospective buyer.
Several companies, including Disney and Salesforce.com, have explored buying Twitter in the past but have decided against it. Most Wall Streeters believe the board should accept Musk’s offer if he obtains the money, which is a large sum for a company that has failed to develop and generate considerable cash flow despite being a household brand.
Multibillionaire On paper, Musk is the wealthiest man on the planet, but the purchase, which values Twitter at $43 billion, would be difficult even for him to complete. He claimed that he would be able to obtain the necessary monies. Morgan Stanley has been appointed as a consultant by Musk. Goldman Sachs was retained by Twitter.
In yet another tweet, Musk suggests that Twitter’s board of directors may not have a choice. He added, “Love me tender,” referencing Elvis Presley and implying that a hostile tender offer was on the way.
This is a direct offer to buy a company’s stock from its shareholders, bypassing management. Some Tesla analysts have been less than enthusiastic about Musk’s latest diversion, considering that he already has a full plate handling Tesla, SpaceX, and a number of other enterprises. Musk has positioned himself as a champion of free expression, stating last week that decreasing content regulation on Twitter would help to develop democracy in the United States and internationally.