Musk hints at ‘plan B’ for Twitter

New York, April 15 ( /Sputnik) Twitter’s largest shareholder Elon Musk hinted that he might have a “Plan B” for acquiring the rest of the stake in the social media giant that he did not already own, after another substantial shareholder rejected his takeover bid. Appearing at a Ted Talk forum to discuss a wide range of business and personal issues, Musk was asked whether he had an alternative plan to take over Twitter, to which he said: “There is.” But in the same breath, he said he was “not sure that I will actually be able to” complete the acquisition of the microblogging site. Musk was consistent about one thing though – that it was ‘”very important” to make Twitter “be [part of] an inclusive arena for free speech”. That has been his stand since he announced his intent to delist the company off the stock exchange and take it private. The chief executive of electric car-maker Tesla and cryptocurrency advocate did not elaborate on the so-called Plan B. One of Twitter’s most-prolific users, Musk’s main concern with the microblogging site appeared to be over its moderation policies. In March, he tweeted out a poll that asked Twitter users whether the site adhered to the principle of free speech. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” he said. “What should be done?” He subsequently declared himself a “free speech absolutist”. Musk appeared at Thursday’s TED Talk after Twitter’s long-time and substantial shareholder Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia said he was rejecting the takeover bid, which he described as below value. “I don’t believe that the proposed offer by @elonmusk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of @Twitter given its growth prospects,” the billionaire Saudi prince, a substantial shareholder in many top US corporations and one of the world’s most famous investors, wrote in a message issued on Twitter itself. “Being one of the largest & long-term shareholders of Twitter, @Kingdom_KHC & I reject this offer.” Musk’s offer of $54.20 for a share of Twitter, which valued the company at $43 billion, came on Thursday after he bought an earlier stake of 9.2% in the company on April 4 at $49.97 per share or almost $3 billion. Alwaleed owns 5.2% of Twitter, raising his stake in the firm with additional stock purchases made in October 2015, according to an image the prince attached to his tweet. Twitter shares were down 0.9% at $45.42 at 2:40 PM ET (18:40 GMT) after Musk’s remarks. The shares jumped 27% on April 4, closing at $49.97, after his initial stake buy. /SPUTNIK GNK

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