ITwitter’s board and Tesla CEO Elon Musk negotiated into the early hours of Monday over his bid to buy the social media platform, The New York Times reported.
A deal could be finalized as soon as Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitter declined to comment on the reports.
Musk said last week that he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company’s board to negotiate a deal.
The Times, citing people with knowledge of the situation who it did not identify, said the two sides were discussing details including a timeline and fees if an agreement was signed and then fell apart. The people said the situation was fluid and fast-moving.
Twitter had enacted an anti-takeover measure known as a poison pill that could make a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive. But the board decided to negotiate after Musk updated his proposal to show he had secured financing, according to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the negotiations were underway.
On April 14, Musk announced an offer to buy the social media platform for $54.20 per share, or about $43 billion, but did not say at the time how he would finance the acquisition.
Last week, he said in documents filed with U.S. securities regulators that the money would come from Morgan Stanley and other banks, some of it secured by his huge stake in the electric car maker.
Twitter has not commented.
Musk has said he wants to buy Twitter because he doesn’t feel it’s living up to its potential as a platform for free speech.
In recent weeks, he has voiced a number of proposed changes for the company, from relaxing its content restrictions — such as the rules that suspended former President Donald Trump’s account — to ridding the platform of its problems with fake and automated accounts.
Musk is the world’s wealthiest person, according to Forbes, with a nearly $279 billion fortune. But much of his money is tied up in Tesla stock — he owns about 17% of the company, according to FactSet, which is valued at more than $1 trillion — and SpaceX, his privately held space company. It’s unclear how much cash Musk has.
Shares of Twitter had been trading noticeably below the offer price in a possible signal of investor skepticism about the deal. On Monday morning, however, Twitter stock rose nearly 5% following the reports, topping $51 a share.
If approved, the deal would put the world’s richest man in charge of one of the world’s most influential social media platforms. Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to “unlock” Twitter’s “extraordinary potential.”
(AP / YWN World Headquarters – NYC)