Tesla CEO and America’s Richest Man Elon Musk is stepping up his bid to acquire Twitter.
Musk, whose proposedwas rejected by Twitter’s board last week, it is now seeking funding for the acquisition. Bloomberg News reported that Musk is reaching out to partners on Wall Street to find money for the deal.
Possible sources of funding include private equity firm Apollo Global Management or investment bank Morgan Stanley, which is advising Musk on his acquisition, according to Bloomberg and the New York Post.
Musk, who recently became thelast week proposed taking the company private at $54 a share, up from the current share price of about $45. The offer met resistance from some investors, and Twitter’s board adopted the so-called to stop Musk from taking over the company.
Musk is the richest person in the world, but much of his fortune of around $260 billion is tied to Tesla shares. Musk would need to liquidate much of his holdings to buy Twitter on his own, potentially diluting Tesla’s value.
On Tuesday, Musk posted a cryptic tweet suggesting he will try to buy shares directly from shareholders in a public offering.
“_______ is the night,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday, apparently referencing Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “Tender is the Night.” Earlier, Musk tweeted a reference to Elvis Presley’s song “Love me tender”.
A prolific tweeter, Musk has over 82 million Twitter followers on the platform and frequently tussles with critics on the platform. He is currently fighting a federal order of silence over 2018 tweets in which he suggested he had funds to take Tesla private, something that securities regulators later found to be false.
Musk has also spoken out against what he calls censorship on the social network. His takeover offer letter highlighted this issue, with Musk signaling his focus on “freedom of speech”.
Musk has now gone on to criticize the Twitter board, saying that if he were in charge, he would save $3 million a year by reducing board member salaries to zero. He also pointed out that the board members collectively own only a small financial stake in Twitter, showing that their “economic interests are simply not aligned with shareholders”.
The proposed acquisition is lifting the heads of Twitter executives to show that the company is not underperforming, said Olaf Groth, a business professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Even the entire social media business model of making money from advertising, which Musk has questioned, is “debatable,” he said.
“He may decide that it’s not worth it and that he’s sent a political signal to exert pressure,” Groth said. “Now all eyes are on Twitter and the clock is ticking.”
While Musk has said his initial offer is “final”, Musk may have to increase the offer to satisfy other shareholders. A Saudi prince who is among Twitter’s top shareholders scoffed at the offer last week in a tweet. Al Waleed bin Talal said he doesn’t believe $43 billion is anywhere near the value of Twitter, given its growth prospects.
Twitter shares hit an all-time high of $77.63 in March 2021. On Tuesday, the shares traded at around $45.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.