Elon Musk launches a political and economic coup on Twitter

Elon Musk, in March 2020 during a conference.

$54.20. This is the very serious amount for which Elon Musk offered to buy back shares of Twitter… But it is also a nod to cannabis, nicknamed « 4/20 » in American slang, referring to the custom of smoking joints at 4:20 in the afternoon. As is often the case with the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, corporate extravagance rubs shoulders with school provocation, with consummate art to the contrary. The surprise takeover bid, launched on Thursday April 14 by the world’s richest man, plunged the world of business and media, and Twitter, into a moment of surreal excitement. The hostile capitalist maneuver arouses all the more conjecture as it includes, in addition to its economic aspect, an important political dimension.

Twitter “it will not prosper or fulfill its social mission [de liberté d’expression] in its current form, Musk explained in a letter to the board. Before launching, with his usual poise: “Twitter has enormous potential. I will make it happen. »

The price offered by Elon Musk in his takeover bid values ​​the company in which he already owns 9% of the capital at 46,000 million dollars (42,300 million euros). Therefore, the buyer is willing to pay a ” premium “, that is, a bonus of 21% compared to the opening price of the title on Thursday, and 54% compared to January 28, the date on which he discreetly began to invest in Twitter, until becoming its first shareholder. This discreet raid was revealed on April 4 in US Stock Market Police documents. Taken by surprise, the leaders of Twitter then proposed to the new shareholder to enter the board of directors, before the interested party refused, on April 11, in a new twist. In fact, it was probably a ploy to free legal hands.

“I don’t play the classic back-and-forth game,” preferring “go straight to the point”, explains Elon Musk to the board of directors today, in his letter announcing his hostile takeover bid. In the process, the social network announced that it was going to “sift through” the offer.

Also read: Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s largest shareholder

A social network still in deficit

Much more than other social networks, Twitter is an achievable goal, because it is in a much more precarious economic situation than Facebook (2.9 billion users), YouTube (Alphabet-Google group, 2 billion users) or TikTok (1 billion million users). ). Its revenue was $5 billion in 2021, representing an online advertising market share of about 1%, according to Insider Intelligence. Despite almost 220 million daily active users, the company has never found true financial stability and is still not profitable. Its growth has slowed down in recent months, and its economic model, based almost exclusively on advertising, has been affected by the crisis linked to the pandemic. In 2021, despite a 37% increase in revenue, the company lost $221 million.

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