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Elon Musk
Elon MuskCourtesy of NASA, via Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter for $43 billion in the name of ‘free speech’

Aren’t you supposed to be living on Mars now babe x

Seems like Elon Musk is taking that Twitter bot that tracks his private jet pretty hard. Back in February, the tech billionaire offered $5,000 to the 19-year-old who created @ElonJet, to take the live tracker down, but his “teen tormentor” declined. Now, Musk seems to be taking a different approach – a hostile takeover of the entire social media platform, for $43 billion.

In reality, of course, the SpaceX and Tesla founder’s controversial offer to buy Twitter probably goes deeper than getting back at a pesky teenage rival. However, it does represent an interesting – and potentially disturbing – new twist in his controversial relationship with the site.

Elon Musk has been tweeting memes and half-baked hot takes to his more than 80 million followers for years. Some highlights include the time he tweeted about taking Tesla private at $420 a share, which somehow resulted in Grimes and Azealia Banks being dragged in to testify in a multimillion-dollar fraud lawsuit. And don’t forget the time he tweeted that “billionaire” is a slur, and called a man who rescued 12 children from a cave in Thailand a “paedo” – both in the same week.

More recently, Musk has fired off several tweets about the importance of maintaining free speech on the site, as well as polling his followers about changes they’d like to see – such as the introduction of an edit button – following the disclosure of his 9.2 per cent stake in the company. This stake also gives him a strong bargaining position when it comes to his $43 billion offer, which would equate to $54.20 per share in cash (see also: the aforementioned weed joke).

It also helps that Musk is allegedly the richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of around $265 billion. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how he would actually come up with the cold, hard cash required for such a massive takeover.

Then there’s the question of what Musk would actually do if he took Twitter private. He expands on this in his letter to Twitter’s board, shared publicly in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday (April 14). “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” reads the letter. 

“However, since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.” 

Under his “best and final” offer to buy 100 per cent of Twitter at a 54 per cent premium over his initial investment, Musk adds: “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”

According to Twitter, its board will carefully review the proposal, and choose a course of action that it “believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stockholders”. As for us, well… we’ll just have to sit back and see what happens if they decide to hand one of the world’s biggest social media platforms over to a billionaire accused of killing monkeys with his dystopian brain chips. What could go wrong?