What are Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter if he eventually buys the company?
The Tesla CEO has indicated that he is willing to follow through on the $44bn offer made earlier this year; what does he have in store for the platform?
In a shocking reversal Elon Musk has offered to proceed with his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, having previously pulled out of the deal. The news was revealed in a letter sent by Musk’s lawyers to Twitter’s legal team on Tuesday.
The billionaire signed a merger agreement with the company on 25 April in which he agreed to pay $54.20 per share for the company. Earlier this year Musk sought to renege on the deal and was set to go to trial in October, in a lawsuit that sources suggest he expected to lose.
On Tuesday a statement from Twitter confirmed: “We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC. The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.”
Twitter could go private under Musk
Throughout the drawn-out process, Musk has maintained that he believes Twitter must be made a private company if it is to remain a viable business. Private companies are able to issue stock and have shareholders, but they do not trade on public exchanges.
In theory this makes them less susceptible to market forces and allows them to avoid the stricter filing requirements issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
This is actually a move that would be welcomed by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, who earlier this week said that Twitter “has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model,” but that going private “is the correct first step” to address some of the platform’s challenges.
But while the Twitter board has approved the sale to Musk, it remains to be seen if they would give the green light to such a significant change to the ownership structure.
Musk has previously criticised Twitter “censorship”
Musk has repeatedly drawn himself as a champion of free speech and said on Monday: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter… Because that is what free speech means.
He has even courted controversy on Twitter by seeming to suggest that Twitter is not currently focused on promoting free speech on the platform. In March he posted a poll asking ‘Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?’
Less than 30% of respondents answered ‘Yes’.
What other changes might Elon Musk make to Twitter?
Throughout his time on Twitter the Tesla CEO has flagged up a number of personal irritations that he has with the platform, which he may look to rectify once in control. One of his most frequently-requested changes has been the introduction of an edit button, which Twitter claims is now being worked on.
Musk has also called on Twitter to make its content discovery algorithm more transparent to “increase trust” in the platform.
Another of his most persistence complaints has been the preponderance of spam bots on Twitter, which are used to manipulate trends and artificially amplify certain points of views. He has previously said that he would look to “authenticate all real humans” on the site if he had control.