Elon Musk talks free speech at TED, Twitter weighs 'poison pill,' CEO tries calming staff

Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter in a deal valuing the social media company at $43 billion.

“Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company,” Musk said in a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”

Musk is one of Twitter’s power users with more than 80 million followers on the social media site. He’s also been one of the company’s biggest critics.

In a letter accompanying his offer, Musk a self-described “free speech absolutist,” hinted he would return Twitter to its roots as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.”

“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,” he wrote. Twitter said its board of directors would review the proposal.

Elon Musk says he may not be able to buy Twitter after all Musk, Twitter’s largest shareholder, launched a takeover bid for the social media company Thursday, offering to buy it for $54.20 a share and take it private.

But hours after he made the $43 billion takeover offer, Musk said he was not sure he would be able to buy Twitter after all. Musk made the comments at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver. Asked if there is a “Plan B” if his offer is rejected, Musk said “there is” but declined to elaborate.

A regulatory filing on April 4 revealed that Musk bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter. The following day, Twitter said Musk would join its board of directors. He later turned down that offer.

Musk’s offer is a 54% premium over the day he began investing in Twitter in January and would value the company at about $43 billion. He said Thursday's offer is his “best and final offer.”