Whirlwind controversies: Elon Musk-Twitter saga – from controversial tweets to actual takeover
Let’s take a look at the whole saga and the controversies surrounding Elon Musk and Twitter take over.
Twitter’s board accepted an offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company and take it private. The cash deal at $54.20 per share is valued at around $44 billion, according to the press release. Twitter would become a private company on completion of the deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval.
The announcement ends a weeklong saga Musk kicked off when he disclosed a large stake in the company. Soon after, the company said he would join the board, only for Musk to reverse course on that plan several days later. Then, he offered to buy the company at $54.20 per share, his “best and final.” That offer valued Twitter at about $43 billion.
The billionaire set his sights on something, and he got it. No amount of drama, elusive attempts from the Twitter board could sway his resolve.
Musk’s takeover is the culmination of a whirlwind of announcements and counter-announcements, punctuated by gleefully fired punches at the company, that too on its own platform.
At the beginning of this month, the eccentric billionaire Musk disclosed that he now owns 9.2 per cent of Twitter’s shares, a number that is even higher than what Jack Dorsey the company’s founder owns. This made him the largest shareholder and this purchase came with an offer for him to join the Twitter board of directors.
Soon after, Musk created a number of polls for his followers, on serious topics like freedom of expression, to polling about removing the alphabet ‘w’ from Twitter’s name. He even declared that he has big plans for the company, however, soon after Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal announced that Musk has decided to forego joining the Twitter board.
In yet another surprising move, Elon Musk soon declared that he has made an offer to purchase the whole of Twitter. He valued Twitter at about $43 billion for $54.20 a share, saying the social media company needs to be transformed privately.
A twisted reaction followed the hostile takeover bid, with the company considering launching a ‘poison pill’ protocol.
After all the drama, the poison pill and more, under pressure from Shareholders, Twitter decided to reconsider Elon Musk's buyout offer.
Apparently, Musk “made his pitch to select shareholders in a series of video calls, with a focus on actively managed funds... in hopes that they could sway the company’s decision”.
Elon Musk controversies:
Often his controversial tweets and statements have cost his shareholders dearly. Maybe Musk needs to be filtered, but the world’s richest person has so far remained unperturbed. In fact, during an interview, he was asked about his controversial tweets, a nonchalant Musk replied terming Twitter a “war zone”.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk, who has previously called himself a “free speech absolutist”, said in a statement.
The most controversial accounts generate much of Twitter’s most engaging content, which allows it to show users more ads. On the other hand, bringing back voices from the extremes of society raises the risks of a backlash from advertisers.
Since Twitter went public in 2013, it has reported an annual profit only twice, in 2018 and 2019. Analysts say this reflects Twitter’s fundamental business struggle: getting people to use its service and getting advertisers to spend their money there.
Twitter dominates the political discourse and shapes the news, thanks to its hold among politicians, world leaders, celebrities and journalists. But its popularity is limited. Around 80% of U.S. adults don't use Twitter. Globally, it does not rank among the top 10 social networks by monthly users. (Facebook and YouTube are the most popular platforms.)
Twitter has 217 million monthly active users — a fraction of the nearly 3 billion who use Facebook monthly and smaller even than Pinterest, at 431 million.
It also has failed to grab users’ attention and keep it for long periods of time. Whereas the average TikTok user spends 48 minutes on the short-video app and Facebook users spend 33 minutes on the site, Twitter users spend about 10 minutes a day on the platform, according to recent estimates by Angelo Zino, an analyst at CFRA Research.