Facing the pressure of shareholders, Twitter Inc on Sunday kicked off deal negotiations with Elon Musk, according to reports, after he wooed many of the social media company’s investors with financing details on his $43 billion acquisition offer. The Tesla and SpaceX chief had made the offer earlier this month. Musk had shaken up Twitter after he shared his letter on the micro-blogging site.
The company’s decision came to be known earlier on Sunday, where it did not specifically say it will accept his $54.20 per share bid, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. However, this does mean that Twitter may be exploring a possible sale of the company to Musk on attractive terms, the sources said.
Musk has been meeting with Twitter shareholders in the last few days, seeking support for his bid. He has repeatedly expressed Twitter’s need to be taken private to grow and become a genuine platform for free speech.
According to Reuters, several Twitter shareholders had reached out to the company, urging it not to let the opportunity for a deal slip away.
Twitter’s board has decided to engage with Musk to gather more information on his ability to complete the deal despite his his “best and final” offer, and potentially get better terms, the sources added.
The company’s long-term shareholders, who together with index funds hold the biggest chunk of Twitter shares, have higher price expectations and are also more inclined to give Parag Agrawal, who recently became Twitter’s chief executive, more time to boost the value of the company’s stock, the report stated.
At the same time, Twitter is digging deeper to find out any active investigations by regulators into Musk, including by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that could present a risk to the deal being completed, one of the sources said. The social media company is also looking into whether regulators in any of the major markets it operates would object to Musk owning the company, they added.
Twitter adopted a poison pill after Musk made his offer to prevent him from raising his more than 9% stake in the company above 15% without negotiating a deal with its board. In response, Musk threatened to launch a tender offer that he could use to register Twitter shareholder support for his bid.
The price expectations among Twitter shareholders for the deal diverge largely based on their investment strategy, the sources said.
One silver lining for Twitter’s board is that Musk’s offer did not appear to convert much of his army of 83 million Twitter followers into new shareholders in the San Francisco-based company who could back his bid, the sources said.
(With inputs from Reuters)