Saudi Prince Rejects Elon Musk’s Offer to Buy Twitter, Instantly Regrets It

Saudi Prince Rejects Elon Musk's Offer to Buy Twitter, Instantly Regrets It

( – Billionaire Elon Musk shocked much of the world when he announced his intentions to buy Twitter outright on Wednesday, April 13. The hostile takeover move came alongside Musk’s suggestion Twitter was harmful to democracy. Instead, he suggested a trusted and inclusive social media platform was vital to the future of civilization. Musk said he offered $43 billion for the company in hopes of tapping into Twitter’s potential for free speech as one of the world’s wealthiest people. Just a week ago, the Tesla and SpaceX founder purchased 9.2% of Twitter, making him the single largest shareholder in the company.

Over the last several years, Musk has been one of Twitter’s most outspoken critics, calling out the company’s censorship efforts, especially of conservatives. On Thursday, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, another substantial shareholder, said he would vote against Musk’s cash bid for the company. In turn, Musk questioned whether Saudi Arabia was committed to free speech.

Musk Questions Saudi Dedication to Free Speech

The prince tweeted he didn’t believe Musk was offering enough intrinsic value for Twitter, given its growth potential. As one of the shareholders who’s owned a stake in the company for many years, Al Saud added he rejected the offer. Soon after, Musk shot back and asked two questions:

  1. How much Twitter stock do Saudis own?
  2. How does Saudi Arabia interpret a journalist’s freedom of speech?

Musk took a clear shot at Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, although his motives might not be entirely altruistic. He could also be squeezing other shareholders to force them out of alignment with Saudi Arabia.

Nonetheless, the Kingdom doesn’t allow independent media in Saudi Arabia. Human rights groups regularly accuse the Muslim country of suppressing dissent and allege the government monitors Saudi journalists who work abroad. Reporters Without Borders ranks Saudi Arabia as one of the worst violators of press freedoms worldwide.

Musk Wants Twitter to Be a Free Speech Platform

In a letter to Twitter’s Chair of the Board, Bret Taylor, included in Musk’s SEC filing and published by the Wall Street Journal, Musk said he invested in the platform because of its potential for global free speech. Since the Tesla founder became the company’s largest shareholder, he realized Twitter would never serve as a beacon for free speech in its current state.

The billionaire added his opinion Twitter needed to revert to a private company. He closed by saying his offer was final, and he would reconsider his stake as a shareholder if the board or the SEC didn’t approve his bid.

On Thursday, the Twitter board met to discuss Musk’s proposal. On Friday morning, news leaked indicating the company could block the hostile takeover with a poison pill by diluting the shares of the company stock. Musk fired back, threatening there would be titanic legal liability should they pursue that strategy.

Stay tuned. This story may just be heating up.

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