Other Responses to the takeover attempt have focused on what Musk would do if it goes through. Musk’s direct mention of free speech in the letter accompanying his bid has people worried that if he does take over the platform, he could roll back some of the platform’s measures against hate speech.
“I would argue there would be a negative impact on democracies worldwide if someone like Elon Musk owned Twitter,” says Christopher Bouzy, founder of BotSentinel, a service that tracks inauthentic behavior on Twitter. Musk’s absolutist approach to free speech would open the door to people like Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter in January 2021 for stoking the insurrection on the US Capitol through social media, to return to the site.
“Twitter would become a cesspool of mis- and disinformation with real-world consequences,” Bouzy says.
One reason Musk may want to buy the business — if he’s serious about it — is because it acts as a megaphone for his own views. “He’s a social platform communicator,” says Cary Cooper, a business professor at Manchester Business School. “He’s a business maverick, in all sorts of ways. He’s been fairly successful in his business ventures, and I can understand him wanting a communication platform. It allows him to express his views in a way that fits in with his personality. ”
But the big question remains: How likely is it that Musk’s bid will be accepted? While the offer’s $ 54.20 a share is up from the shares’ value before Musk bought in, it’s still down from highs of $ 77.06 a share in February 2021. It’s also well below the 52-week average the company has been trading at. And intraday trading on April 14, which dropped below the opening price, indicates the market doesn’t believe Musk is likely to pull it off. Musk’s 38 percent premium “is about in the range of what an average premium is being paid for companies,” which tends to lie between 30 and 40 percent above current value, says Galpin. “It’s not a slam dunk to guarantee that enough shareholders would approve an offer at that level,” he says.
While Musk, the company’s largest shareholder, obviously wants the sale to go ahead, other large shareholders, including The Vanguard Group, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, and State Street Corp, may not. WIRED asked all four firms whether they would accept a Musk takeover. At the time of publication, Morgan Stanley had not responded. Ed Patterson, global head of public relations at State Street Corp, Barbara Williams, director of corporate communications at BlackRock, and Vanguard spokeswoman Alyssa Thornton said they would not comment on specific companies.
Conventional business wisdom would suggest that they’re likely to turn the offer down. “Some shareholders may own the shares for more personal-value-based reasons, rather than financial ones,” says Galpin. “It’s going to be a mixed bag across the shareholder base. Is their consideration a financial game or is their consideration a personal-values-based, societal good decision on their part? Only the individual shareholders would know that. ”