April 15, 2022
Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave a simple response when asked about whether he has a “plan B” option for Twitter.
During a TED talk, host Chris Anderson asked Musk if there was a “Plan B” if his current offer to buy Twitter in an all-cash deal were rejected.
“There is,” Musk said.
“Well, I think we would want to err on — if in doubt, let the speech — let it exist. If it’s a gray area, I would say let the tweet exist. But obviously, in a case where there’s perhaps a lot of controversies that you would not want to necessarily promote that tweet, you know. So, I’m not — I’m not saying that I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things and have — just be very cautious with permanent bans. You know, timeouts, I think, are better than sort of permanent bans,” he continued.
“But just in general, like it said, it won’t be perfect, but I think we wanted to really have like the perception and reality that speech is as free and reasonably possible, and a good sign as to whether there is free speech is, is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like? And if that is the case, then we have free speech. And it’s damn annoying when someone you don’t like says something you don’t like. That is a sign of a healthy, functioning free speech situation,” he added.
On Wednesday, Musk announced that he had formally offered to buy Twitter outright.
Musk offered to buy the company for $54.20 a share, which he said was his “best and final offer,” representing a 54 percent premium over the day before he began investing in the company in late January. It would value the company at about $43 billion.
Musk said “I don’t have confidence in management” and that he couldn’t make the changes he wanted in the public market.
In a letter to Twitter, Musk said that he believes the company “will neither thrive nor serve [its free speech] societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”
“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” he said.
Musk has hired Morgan Stanley as an advisor to help with the takeover of the social media giant.
Days ago, it was speculated that his decision not to take the job means he is now free to improve his position within the company, as in, buy more stock.
Musk signed an agreement with Twitter for the following terms as long as he serves on the board: “Mr. Musk agrees that, for so long as Mr. Musk is serving on the Board and for 90 days thereafter, Mr. Musk will not, either alone or as a member of a group, become the beneficial owner of more than 14.9% of Company’s common stock outstanding at such time, including for these purposes economic exposure through derivative securities, swaps or hedging transactions.”
But since Musk declined to join Twitter’s board, he is no longer bound by that stipulation, journalist Yashar Ali noted.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a statement released Sunday night that it was Musk’s decision to not join the company’s board after he was offered a seat.
“Elon Musk has decided not to join our board,” Agrawal said. “The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.”
“We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance,” Agrawal continued. “Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best.
“We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input,” Agrawal added.
“There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged,” the statement added. “The decisions we make and how we execute are in our hands, no one else’s. Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.”