Elon Musk hinted Thursday that buying Twitter and privatizing it might not be an option as the social media platform’s board of directors appears ready to erect obstacles to thwart a hostile takeover bid by the world’s richest man .
“I’m not sure I can acquire Twitter,” Musk told a large audience Thursday at a TED conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Maybe Musk was aware of that Wall Street Journal report This suggests that a “person familiar with the matter” said the company was planning a “poison pill” that would deter the Tesla boss from completing its takeover bid.
“Poison pill” is a strategy used by a company to prevent a hostile takeover. This usually results in the company becoming less attractive to the party seeking to acquire it.
Twitter could thwart Musk by offering its shareholders the option to buy additional shares at a steep discount, diluting the stock’s value and driving up the cost of a potential takeover.
In 2018, Papa John’s Pizza Restaurants’ board of directors used the same strategy to prevent company founder John Schnatter from gaining full control of the company.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, a billionaire who is also one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, tweeted that he will vote to reject Musk’s offer for the company.
In his first public comments since an SEC filing on Thursday showing he had filed a $41 billion cash offer for the company, Musk said making money was not the driving force behind the takeover bid.
“This is not a way to make money. My strong intuitive feeling is that having a public platform that is maximally trustworthy and comprehensive is extremely important for the future of civilization. The economy doesn’t interest me at all,” Musk said.
The multi-billionaire said Twitter must adhere to the same principles of free speech that govern countries.
“Twitter has become sort of a de facto town square,” Musk said.
“So it’s really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they can speak freely within the confines of the law.”
When asked why he wanted to buy Twitter, Musk joked, “I don’t know. A little bird chirped in my ear or something.”
Musk urged Twitter to “open source the algorithm” — which would give software developers insight into how the service is prioritizing its content.
“The code should be on Github for people to look through,” Musk said.
When asked what content moderation policy he would adopt as head of the company, Musk said, “When in doubt, leave the speech, leave it.”
“If it’s a gray area, I’d say let the tweet stand,” he said. “But in a case where there might be a lot of controversy that you don’t necessarily want to promote this tweet… I’m not saying I have all the answers here.”
“But I think we want to be very cautious about deleting things … just be very careful with permanent bans.”
Musk added, “Personally, I wouldn’t be around to edit tweets.”
Musk’s potential takeover of Twitter has sparked speculation that he would leave former President Donald Trump behind on the platform.
Trump has been banned from Twitter and other major social media companies for his role in the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riots.
Trump has since launched his own social media platform, Truth Social, but it has been plagued by technical glitches and the departure of key executives.
Last week, a Twitter spokesman told DailyMail.com that there were no plans to reinstate Trump’s account.
“Twitter is committed to impartiality in developing and enforcing its policies and rules,” the company said. “Our policy decisions are not determined by the board or shareholders, and we have no intention of reversing policy decisions.”
“As always, our Board of Directors plays an important advisory and feedback role throughout our service,” the company added. “Our day-to-day operations and decisions are made by Twitter’s management and employees.”
https://nypost.com/2022/04/14/elon-musk-says-hes-not-sure-hell-be-able-to-acquire-twitter/ Elon Musk says he’s “not sure” he can take over Twitter