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Elon Musk Takes Megalomania To New Heights With Demand That He Be Able To Buy 100% of Twitter

If you have to write "this is not a threat" as part of your business offer, that's probably not great!

Elon Musk mugs and gives two thumbs up

Elon Musk continues to use his billions in the most self-serving, narcissistic ways possible. In just the last week and a half, Musk scooped up 9.2% of Twitter shares, got sued for allegedly illegally keeping that move secret, announced plans to join the board of Twitter, and then changed his mind on that entirely.

The assumption was that Musk probably changed his mind about joining the board because that would prohibit him from acquiring an even larger stake in the company at some point in the future. Well, it looks like that did turn out to be the case, and that point is now.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in a letter to Twitter’s Chairman of the Board Bret Taylor, which was included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing he shared online “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”

“Twitter has extraordinary potential.  I will unlock it,” he proclaims.

Musk’s offer is to buy 100% of Twitter—or nothing at all. In another section of the filing, presumably also directed at Taylor, Musk writes out a list of demands, which he titles “Best and Final”:

a. I am not playing the back-and-forth game.

b. I have moved straight to the end.

c. It’s a high price and your shareholders will love it.

d. If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.

i. This is not a threat, it’s simply not a good investment without the changes that need to be made.

ii. And those changes won’t happen without taking the company private.

I don’t know, man. If you have to write “this is not a threat” as part of your business offer, that’s probably not great!

Musk offers a price of $54.20 per share in cash, which is about 2/3 of its high point over the last year, but, as Musk writes, it’s “a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced.” (That price has also dropped today since Musk tweeted his “offer,” which of course he knew would happen and only helps him.)

Ultimately, I care far less about whether this is a good deal for investors than I do about what this would mean for Twitter users. (Considering the numerous complaints of racism at Tesla and Musk’s horrible response to those complaints, I’d also be concerned for the company’s employees.)

We don’t know exactly what that would look like but it seems extremely likely that Donald Trump and a bunch of other racist white guys would all be let back onto the playground on Day One.

Musk’s insistence that the only way for Twitter to fully realize its potential for “free speech” and thereby ensure a global “functioning democracy” is for him to take full, sole control of it via a hostile takeover is just an incredible display of megalomania—absolutely next level egotism.

(image: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.