Elon Musk, Twitter buyout, and a saga of ridiculous tweets: The timeline so far

Elon Musk, Twitter buyout, and a saga of ridiculous tweets: The timeline so far

Believe it or not, it all started on January 31. If this whole Musk-Twitter drama is making you feel like this has gone on forever, you aren’t the only one.

(Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)

Currently, as things stand, Tesla CEO and “the world’s richest man”, has to get $44 billion together to buy Twitter, the social media platform where he has some 91.8 million followers. Just to put things into perspective, his last tweet was about chocolate milk and how “insanely good” it is. This man is going to be “interim CEO” if he actually does buy Twitter, and understandably, the whole world is divided. On one hand are the die-hard supporters who feel the acquisition would only make Twitter a cathedral of free speech. The other side are those who are, and quite understandably so, worried about one man controlling one of the most powerful social media companies out there.

On April 25, Twitter agreed to sell itself to Musk for $44 billion, just three weeks after he disclosed his 9.2 per cent stake in the platform, and 11 days after he announced his “best and final” offer to buy Twitter for $54.40 a share.

Musk has time till the end of the year to get the money together to buy Twitter, and the deal will still need to be approved by shareholders. There is a lot of speculation regarding the fact that Musk might just back out and whatever he has been doing so far is an elaborate troll-fest. Terminating the deal will cost Musk $1 billion in termination fees as per a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing done on April 25.

So, there is time. And while we wait and Musk posts more bizarre tweets, here’s a look back at the timeline:

January 31: Musk starts buying Twitter shares.

March 14: By now, Musk owns more than 5 per cent of the company. At this point, he was supposed to inform the SEC about the purchase but he missed the deadline by 10 days over when he managed to buy more shares for cheap. This later lead to a shareholder lawsuit.

March 24: Musk tweets about how the Twitter algorithm should be “open source”.

March 25: Musk tweets about “free speech” and how it is essential for a “functioning democracy”.

March 26: He now starts asking his Twitter followers if a “new platform is needed” and how he is “giving serious thought to this”.

April 4: The fact that Musk owns 9.2 Per cent of Twitter becomes public. He tweets a poll asking users whether they want an edit button. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal urges people to “vote carefully” since the “consequences of this poll will be important”.

Twitter asks Musk to join the board and the billionaire hints that he will sign an agreement that will not let him own more than 14.9 per cent of company stock.

April 5: Musk refiles the disclosure of his stake to classify himself as an “active investor” in the company. Many Twitter board members congratulate him.

April 9: Musk says he’s not joining the Twitter board.

April 10: Twitter makes this news public. Agrawal sends a note to employees first and then posts it on the platform. The exact reason for why Musk changed his mind is not shared.  

April 11: Musk now files an amended disclosure with the SEC that would allow him to buy as many shares as he wants.

April 14: Musk offers, in an SEC filing, to buy Twitter for $43 billion in cash and take it private. Makes his “best and final” offer of $54.20 a share. Morgan Stanley is brought in to advise.

April 15: Twitter shareholders go the “poison pill” way. The poison pill is a rights plan when shareholders are allowed to buy shares at a discount if any shareholder exceeds 15 per cent ownership thereby diluting Musk’s stake in the company and forcing him to pay more than what he’s planning to.

April 16: Musk points out in a tweet that the Twitter board owns almost no shares post Jack Dorsey’s departure. Dorsey is going to leave the board once his term expires on May 25.

April 19: The New York Post reports that Musk is willing to invest $15 billion of his own cash and also borrow against his Twitter shares to get the deal done.

April 21: Musk says he has secured $46.5 billion in funding including a $25.5 billion in loans financing from Morgan Stanley and $21 billion in equity financing from himself.

April 24: Negotiations between Twitter board and Musk begins.

April 25: Twitter agrees to sell.

April 29: Musk sells $4 billion Tesla shares to help finance the Twitter deal. About 4.4 million shares were sold over two days, as per filings, equating to 2.6 per cent of Musk’s stake in Tesla. No other Tesla sales planned “after today”, Musk says.

May 5: Musk secures $7.14 billion funding from a group of investors including Oracle Corp co-founder Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital. Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal also agrees to roll his $1.89 billion stake into the deal rather than cashing out, according to filings. Talal had previously opposed the buyout.

The Qatar Holding and Dubai-based Vy Capital, an investor in Musk's other venture The Boring Company, are also part of the investor group along with Binance, Fidelity Management, etc.

Ellison, a board member at Tesla and a “close friend” of Musk’s, commits $1 billion for the funding.

Musk's margin loan is reduced to $6.25 billion from $12.5 billion announced earlier and his $21 billion financing commitment is revised to $27.25 billion.

May 8: Musk tweets about dying under "mysterious circumstances".

May 9: Now he's tweeting about chocolate milk. And about the Taj Mahal. Both of which are definitely some of his better tweets.

May 10: Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he would reverse the permanent ban imposed on former President Donald Trump’s account if the Twitter deal materializes. Musk said that he and co-founder Jack Dorsey believe that permanent bans should be “extremely rare” and reserved for accounts engaged in operating bots and spreading spam.  

May 12: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal fired the general manager of consumer product at the microblogging platform Kavyon Beykpour and general manager of revenue Bruce Falck. Beykpour took to Twitter to announce his departure after 7 years of association with the company. He wrote, “The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision. Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction.” 

May 13: Elon Musk says Twitter deal has been put on hold temporarily due to pending details on spam/fake accounts on the platform. He tweeted, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5 per cent of users.” He later said, “Still committed to acquisition.” 

May 16: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal takes to Twitter to talk about spam content and how it affects user experience on the platform. He was greeted by a poop emoji by Elon Musk in return. Agarwal wrote, “First, let me state the obvious: spam harms the experience for real people on Twitter, and therefore can harm our business. As such, we are strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong.” 

May 17: Elon Musk says the $44 billion Twitter takeover deal “cannot move forward” until there is some sort of clarity on the number of bot accounts on Twitter. The Tesla boss tweeted, “20 per cent fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of more than 5 per cent. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Graphic: Mohsin Shaikh

Also Read: ‘Truly a wonder of the world’: Elon Musk talks about his 2007 Taj Mahal visit

Also Read: Elon Musk's $44 bn Twitter bid at risk of being repriced lower: Report

Published on: May 10, 2022, 12:48 PM IST
Posted by: Jhinuk Sen, May 10, 2022, 12:42 PM IST