Elon Musk and Twitter could reach a deal for the tech billionaire to buy the social media platform as early as today, in an agreement that could exceed $46.5 billion that would bring nearly two weeks of trolling, hand-wringing, and bickering to a dramatic end, according to two reports.
Twitter’s share price has risen since Musk made his offer of $54.20 per share, pushing the cost of a takeover closer to $50 billion than the original $43 billion.
Talks are in the “final stretch,” Bloomberg reported, citing a person with knowledge the matter. The San Francisco-based platform and world’s richest man could have a deal by the end of the day if they can hammer out terms, according to the person. Reuters reported that Twitter’s board of directors is poised to recommend shareholders accept Musk’s $54.20-per-share offer
It remains possible that the deal could collapse at the last minute, the sources told Reuters.
The rapid development comes after Musk met Sunday with Twitter executives to demonstrate he had financing in place. The Tesla mogul had earlier hinted he might bypass the board with a tender offer directly to shareholders if the board rejected the bid he first announced on April 14. The share price of Twitter has risen nearly 7% since Musk made his offer, but still remain some 10% below his offer. Shares were up another 4.5% in pre-market trading Monday, at $51.15.
“A concern that Twitter’s board is weighing is that unless it seeks to negotiate a deal with Musk, many shareholders could back him in a tender offer,” Reuters reported.
The Twitter board, which includes founder Jack Dorsey and current CEO Parag Agrawal, initially tried to fend off Musk with a so-called “poison pill,” which would dilute the value of his shares and allow current shareholders to increase their holdings. But now the board seems to recognize that Musk, who says he wants to take Twitter private to help it grow and better embrace freedom of speech, may have gained the upper hand.
“While the poison pill would prevent Twitter shareholders from tendering their shares, the company is worried that its negotiating hand would weaken considerably if it was shown to be going against the will of many of its investors,” sources told Reuters.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Musk revealed he had obtained a debt commitment letter from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. and certain other financial institutions showing they were committed to provide $13 billion in financing to him; a separate debt commitment letter from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. and certain other financial institutions committing to provide $12.5 billion in margin loans, and an equity commitment letter in which Musk committed to provide equity financing for his offer.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Musk, who had informed Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor he would not budge on his $54.20-a-share offer for the company, had met privately on video calls with several shareholders on Friday:
Since making his offer, Musk has used the platform itself – on which he has 80 million followers – to criticize its silencing of conservative viewpoints. He has also said he would consider making immediate changes, including adding an “edit” button and changing the way users gain coveted “blue checkmark” status.