Elon Musk has said three issues still need to be resolved before his planned $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, originally announced in April, can close.
Musk, speaking via teleconference Tuesday at Bloomberg’s Qatar Economic Forum, said he still hadn’t gotten clarity on Twitter’s claim that fake accounts and spam account for less than 5% of users. assets,” which I think probably isn’t most people’s experience when using Twitter. So we’re still waiting for a resolution on that. And it’s a very important issue. Twitter said that it would “cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to complete the transaction”, and the company would have offered full access to the service’s more than 500 million daily tweets.
Musk also said it remains to be seen whether the debt portion of the Twitter deal will “come together” and also noted that his offer requires shareholder approval. “Those are the three things that … need to be resolved before the transaction can be completed,” he said.
Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for $54.20/share includes $27.25 billion in equity financing, $6.25 billion in margin loans and $10.5 billion in debt financing. Musk, currently the world’s richest individual, has lined up funding from Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, Sequoia Capital, the cryptocurrency exchange Binance.com and a16z, the venture capital firm founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.
Meanwhile, Twitter is expected to hold a shareholder vote on Musk’s offer later this summer. The company’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the transaction.
Twitter shares rose more than 2% amid a broader market rally on Tuesday, but were still trading at less than $39/share – nearly 30% below Musk’s offer price, pointing out investors’ continued skepticism that the deal would be completed.
Musk was interviewed at the conference by Bloomberg News editor John Micklethwait, who asked the mega-billionaire if there was a limit to who should be allowed on Twitter.
“My aspiration for Twitter, or the digital public square in general, would be for it to be as inclusive as possible in the broadest sense of the word,” Musk replied. “It obviously can’t be a place where [people] feel uncomfortable or harassed, or they just won’t use it.
Musk, as he did during his Q&A with Twitter employees last week, made a distinction between “freedom of speech” and “freedom of access.”
“Generally, the approach should be to let people say what they want…but limit who sees it based on Twitter user preferences,” Musk said. Ideally, he said, he would like 80% of people in North America or “half the world’s population” to use Twitter in some way.
Musk was also asked if he plans to be CEO of Twitter. He replied, “I would drive the product, which I do at SpaceX and Tesla…Whether I’m called CEO or whatever is far less important than my ability to drive the product in the right direction.” During the meeting with Twitter staffers, Musk suggested that layoffs would be in sight if he was successful in the takeover.
According to Bloomberg, the Qatar Economic Forum is underwritten by the Qatar Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Qatar Investment Authority and the Qatar Investment Promotion Agency.