The Twitter board is said to take Elon Musk’s offer seriously

Twitter could be getting close to a deal with Elon Musk.

The board of directors of the social media service met on Sunday morning to discuss Musk’s an unsolicited offer of $ 46.5 billion to buy the company, after starting to queue financing for his offer last week, two people familiar with the situation said. The funding was a game changer for how Twitter’s board of directors saw Musk’s offer of $ 54.20 per share, allowing the company’s 11 board members to seriously consider his. offer, people said.

Twitter’s board planned to meet with Musk’s side later on Sunday to discuss other contours of a potential deal, said people who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t allowed to discuss confidential information. These details include a timeline for concluding any potential deal and any fees that would be paid if a deal was signed and then fell apart.

Any deal remains far from certain, but the Twitter board’s willingness to engage with Mr. Musk, the richest man in the world, is a step forward. Musk, who has more than 83 million Twitter followers and began accumulating stock in the company earlier this year, said he plans to buy the company on April 14 and make it private. But his proposal was quickly rejected by Wall Street because it wasn’t clear if he could come with the money to make the deal. So Twitter adopted a “poisonous pill”, a defensive maneuver that would prevent Mr. Musk from accumulating more shares in the company.

Mr. Musk updated his proposal last week, lobbying Twitter to take his offer more seriously. In a securities filing Thursday, Mr. Musk detailed how he had pooled funding from investment bank Morgan Stanley and a group of other lenders, who were offering 13 billion dollars in debt financing, plus another 12.5 billion dollars in loans against its shares in Tesla, the electric car company it operates. He was expected to add something 21 billion dollars in equity financing.

Now what appeared to be a highly unlikely deal may be more likely. The situation involving Twitter and Mr. Musk remains fluid and fast-moving, people familiar with the situation said.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment. In previous public statements, the company said its board of directors was “continuing to conduct a careful, complete and deliberate review to determine course of action in the best interest of the company and all Twitter shareholders.”

Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street newspaper previously reported Twitter’s greater receptivity to Mr. Musk’s offer.

Wall Street is likely to view Twitter’s board of directors opening to Musk’s offer as “the beginning of the end for Twitter as a public company with Musk likely now on the road to acquiring the company unless he gets into the mix. a second bidder “. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note on Sunday.

Mr. Musk’s offer for Twitter is a 54% premium over the stock price the day before he began investing in the company in late January. But Twitter’s shares traded above Mr. Musk’s offering for much of last year.

Several analysts said they expected Twitter’s board of directors to only accept an offer that priced it at as low as $ 60 per share. Shares of Twitter rose more than $ 70 per share last year when the company announced a goal of doubling its revenuebut it has since fallen to around $ 48 as investors questioned its ability to achieve those goals.

Mr. Musk, 50, made it clear that he sees a lot of shortcomings in Twitter as a social media service. He said he wants to “transform” the company into a “platform for free speech around the world” and that it requires major improvements in its product and policies.

Musk tried to negotiate with Twitter using the service itself, threatening in several tweets that he could present his offer directly to the company’s shareholders in what is called a “public offer”. A takeover bid is a hostile ploy in which an outside party evades the advice of a company by asking shareholders to sell their shares directly to them.

He also acted erratically on the platform, raising concerns about how he might run the service if he were responsible for it. Saturday, Mr. Musk targeted billionaire Bill Gates, saying that Mr. Gates had taken a “short” position on Tesla’s stock, which meant that Mr. Gates was betting that the automaker’s stock would go down. On Sunday, Mr. Musk tweeted that he was “to move on”From making fun of Mr. Gates.

Even so, Mr. Musk maintains friendly ties with some high-ranking Twitter members. Over the weekend, Mr. Musk exchanged friendly tweets with Jack Dorsey, the company’s co-founder and board member. Mr. Dorsey stepped down as Twitter’s chief executive officer in November and will soon be leaving his board.

Both men share similar views on cryptocurrencies and promoting greater freedom of speech online. When Mr. Musk briefly flirted with joining the Twitter board this month, Mr. Dorsey tweeted, “I’m so happy that Elon is joining the Twitter wall! She cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it. “

On Friday, Block, a financial services firm led by Mr. Dorsey, revealed that he had changed his title at the company from CEO to “Block Head”. That change seemed to resonate with Mr. Musk.

“Your new title in Block is fire,” Mr. Musk tweeted to Mr. Dorsey on Saturday, using two flame emojis to signify his approval. Last year, Mr. Musk had changed his title to Tesla from CEO to techno.