Billionaire Elon Musk has reached an agreement to acquire Twitter for approximately $44 billion, the company said.
The outspoken Tesla CEO, the world’s wealthiest person, has said he wants to buy Twitter because he thinks it’s not living up to its potential as a platform for “free speech.” He says it needs to be transformed as a private company in order to build trust with users and do better at serving what he calls the “societal imperative” of free speech.
Here's a chronology of developments, including some tweets from Musk and latest comments disclosed in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), indicating what Musk has planned for the social media platform.
April 21, 2022 — "If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!" Musk tweeted. "And authenticate all real humans," he added.
April 14, 2022 — Should "taking Twitter private at $54.20 should be up to shareholders, not the board?" Musk asked in a poll on Twitter, in which 83.5% of the responders said yes.
Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said that as one of the major shareholders in Twitter, he rejected a takeover bid by Musk.
"However, since making my investment, I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company," Musk retorted in an SEC filling. "My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.
"Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it," Musk said in another filing that same day.
Later on April 14, 2022, Musk added, in a rather cryptic Tweet:, "I made an offer."
April 10, 2022 — Musk was sued by former Twitter shareholders who claim they missed out on the recent run-up in its stock price because he waited too long to disclose a 9.2% stake in the social media company.
Musk then polled followers on Twitter asking whether the company's headquarters in San Francisco should be converted into a homeless shelter. The tweet is now deleted.
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos had backed Musk's idea.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal shared a note on Twitter saying that Musk rejected the company's offer to join its board.
Musk later deleted the tweet, where he responded with an emoticon with a face-with-hand-over-mouth.
Musk started a poll asking if "w" should be deleted from Twitter's name, leaving two voting options, "yes" and "of course." He deleted that too.
April 9, 2022 — With respect to Twitter's business model, Musk tweeted before deleting it: "And no ads. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive."
Musk tweeted: "Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (ie pays $3/month) should get an authentication checkmark" about its subscription service that offers "exclusive access to premium features" on a monthly basis. Later, he deleted the tweet.
April 5, 2022 — Agrawal tweeted that Musk is being appointed to Twitter's board. "He's both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term."
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also welcomed Musk to Twitter's board in a tweet: "Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team"
April 4, 2022 — Musk posted a Twitter poll asking users if they wanted an edit button. "Do you want an edit button?" Musk asked in the tweet, in response to which Agrawal said the consequences of the poll will be important. "Please vote carefully," he tweeted.
Earlier on April 4, Musk, in his first tweet since the disclosure of his stake in Twitter, he said, "Oh hi lol."
March 26, 2022 — Musk said Twitter failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy and asked if a new platform was needed.
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