Elon Musk to take over Twitter: Just 10 days from poison pill to $60.4b deal

The deal will take the company private. PHOTO: REUTERS

Twitter users woke up on April 4 and found the words "Elon" and "Elon Musk" trending on the site - not because the world's richest man had caused a stir with his futuristic companies Tesla and SpaceX, but because he suddenly disclosed he had become Twitter's biggest shareholder.

In the next three weeks, Mr Musk would move quickly - in between tweeting - to strike a deal to take over the social media giant. Here is what happened:

Jan 31: Musk starts quietly buying Twitter shares "almost daily".

March 14: He accumulates an over 5 per cent stake, at which point he should make a disclosure. Musk will miss this deadline by 10 days. As Twitter's share price rose the second his stake was revealed, he was able to accumulate more on the cheap by not disclosing. This will later trigger a shareholder lawsuit.

March 24: His stake still secret, Musk starts critiquing Twitter, on Twitter.

April 4: The billionaire reveals he has a 9 per cent stake in Twitter, making him its biggest single shareholder. Twitter offers him a seat on its board - so long as he does not own more than 14.9 per cent. He initially accepts the offer.

April 9: Musk rejects seat on Twitter's board on the day he is meant to join.

April 11: Musk files an amended disclosure with the United States regulator. He can now purchase as many shares as he wants.

April 12: Investor Marc Bain Rasella files a lawsuit against Musk for failing to report his Twitter share purchases in time.

April 14: The Tesla founder offers to buy Twitter for US$43 billion. The offer is US$54.20 a share - an apparent reference to Musk's failed bid to take Tesla private in 2018 for US$420 a share and to a special number in pot culture. Twitter stocks plummet after the hostile takeover bid.

April 15: Twitter board mounts a "poison pill" strategy against Musk. The plan allows shareholders to purchase shares at a discount if any shareholder exceeds 15 per cent ownership. This will effectively dilute the billionaire's stake.

April 16: Musk tweets "Love Me Tender" as he teases the possibility of a hostile takeover.

April 18: Twitter co-founder and former chief executive Jack Dorsey slams the board for "plots and coups" that are "consistently the dysfunction of the company".

April 21: Musk files document, saying he has secured US$46.5 billion in funding for a takeover bid.

April 24: Twitter board holds discussions with Musk, taking his offer more seriously once he presented details of his financing.

April 25: Twitter agrees to sell to Musk for his original offer of $54.20 a share. The deal, now valued at about US$44 billion (S$60.4 billion), will take the company private. Musk says he will prioritise free speech on the site, open-source its algorithms, eliminate spam and add new features.

Sources: Bloomberg, Daily Mail

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